How Did Valentin Zhivkov Die in Balchik Regional Police Station? By Hristo HRISTOV The witness Chakar Chivkov Angelov, Valentin’s brother: On the night of 9 to 10 August 2007, at about 2.00 am in the morning, we were in Strazhitsa; my brother Valentin got into the car and we drove off for Balchik. In the Levski Quarter of Balchik, in front of the Balik Confectionery Factory a police car with three police officers inside stopped us. One of them came up to us, the other two stayed back with the car. The police officer (a captain) introduced himself and asked for our papers. I gave him mine. My brother was sitting silently next to me. My papers were OK, so they asked for Valentin’s. His ID card was not with him though. I told the policemen that Valentin was my brother and that he had had a few drinks, and that I was driving him back home. The policeman told me to wait until another police car arrived to check my alcohol level. Thirty minutes went by, and then the other car came. A little bit earlier Valentin had got out of the car, the police had cuffed him and called for a third car to come and take him to the station. My brother said to the policeman: ”The handcuffs are too tight. Loosen them up a bit.” The police officer ignored him. My brother was not violent or insulting. I said to the police officer then, “I am driving him home but you are driving him to the police station.” And he replied, ”When he sobers up in the morning, we will let him go.” I then told the policeman I was going to pick him up in the morning and take him to work. On 10 August, about 7.30 am, I went to the police station, and I saw this crime scene tape and policemen standing guard. The taped place was wet. They had washed it. I asked one of them, “What is going on?” He replied, ”We are not letting him go today. There’s a problem. You go to work.” So I went. When I got back home (to Strazhitsa) my children told me my brother was dead. I went to Balchik to see my mother, and she told me that they drove Valentin to Varna at 11.00. On 11 August, at 9.00 am, we left for Varna to collect the body. Only they wouldn’t give it to us, as they needed to do an autopsy, and a public prosecutor to see it. We were handed a death certificate, and it did not contain anything about the bruises on Valentin’s body from the thrashing at the police station. I entered the morgue by myself to dress up my brother. Before I did that I had a good look at the body and this is
what I saw: he had a black right eye, on his left, under his armpit, there was a huge red spot, about 15 cm in diameter. On the same side there was a mark from a bat, about 30 cm. His right eyebrow was split. Zvezdelin Borkov Ognyanov, eye witness: I saw Valentin’s corpse when it was brought to Varna. There were bruises on it from a beating. I made some photos, and on one of them you can see the black right eye and the split eyebrow. I also saw the mark from the bat under his left shoulder-blade and the armpit - another mark. About 100 men people saw the bruises on Valentin’s corpse. We were told that the trial will be over within a month; that it will be a closed hearing, and we will not be allowed into the court hall; that they will phone us to let us acquaint ourselves with the paperwork. This is what the coroner said.
Rita Ivanova Chakarova, Valentin’s mother: At 6.00 am on 10 August I went to the police station. A plain-clothes policeman asked me where I was going and I told him - to see the district warden. He said, ”You are not going to go now. Come after 10. Go home now.” I saw some of our boys wash his blood away with water from a barrel. The Balchik Police Office Chief, Dancho Yordanov, had refused to give me any information on the case over the phone earlier. We went to Varna with some of Valentin’s other relatives. There I met the military coroner, senior coroner Daniel Gerov. He would not give me any information and referred me to the military prosecutor. I went to see the latter, lieutenant-colonel Mariyan Marinov. He told me the case would get to the court soon but would not give me any specific timeframe. He also said that the police officers who had detained Valentin in the Balchik Police Office had not been suspended from their jobs. He explained that after the examination, a statement would be prepared and the relatives would be presented with the results. In fact, after the investigation and statement, the relatives would be presented with all the information gathered on the case. The prosecutor added that it was likely for a second investigation to be carried out. OBEKTIV 1