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The Supreme Court of Cassation of Bulgaria located in Sofia

MAY 20, 2019

Supreme Court Victories Protect Religious Freedom for Jehovah’s Witnesses in Bulgaria

In March 2019, the Supreme Court of Cassation of Bulgaria, the highest court of the land, issued favorable rulings in three cases involving our brothers. These victories set vital legal precedents to protect our brothers’ freedom of worship throughout the country.

Two of the cases involved slander from media outlets. In 2012, the newspaper Vseki Den published a libelous article about our beliefs. Similarly, in 2014, station SKAT TV televised false reports about our organization. In both instances, the media outlets denied our brothers’ requests to retract the negative statements. After a series of court cases and appeals, the issues reached the Supreme Court. On March 18, 2019, the Supreme Court ruled against SKAT TV. On March 26, the Court used the ruling as a precedent to penalize Vseki Den, condemning what the Court characterized as the “language of hatred.”

The third case involved the cruel persecution of our brothers by a political group called the VMRO-Bulgarian National Movement. On April 17, 2011, our brothers gathered to commemorate the Memorial of Jesus’ death. An aggressive mob of 60 people, organized by political leader Georgi Drakaliev of the VMRO, brutally attacked our brothers, inflicting injuries. The brothers took the matter to the courts. The case eventually came before the Supreme Court. On March 20, 2019, the Court ruled against Mr. Drakaliev, who now must compensate the brothers.

We rejoice because of these three favorable rulings. These decisions can now be used as a basis to protect our brothers’ freedom to “go on leading a calm and quiet life with complete godly devotion.”—1 Timothy 2:2.