Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani did not show up for the first hearing in the slander case Macedonian human rights activist Bill Nicholov filed against him. In an attempt to soften the criticism against the Government after it deserted the fight of Macedonians in Bulgaria for their human rights, Osmani blamed Nicholov – a prominent supporter of Macedonian human rights – of being pro-Russian. Nicholov is suing Osmani and demands that he proves his assertion.
Osmani’s attorney Ljupco Ilievs aid that the minister was merely making an assertion and did not want to slander anybody.
Meanwhile Trajce Torov, attorney for Nicholov and his Macedonian Human Rights Movement International, said that Osmani’s comments have put a target on the backs of the Macedonian activists.
Treating the funding of Macedonian associations in Bulgaria as a suspicious activity that is against the interests of the state is endangering both those who are providing the funds and the associations in Bulgaira. It means asserting that the associations are themselves to blame for the violations of human rights they are exposed to because they accept help from somebody. In reality, it is the defendant who should be helping these organizations, and instead he helps the other side, and insults those who actually help them, Torov said.
Nicholov helped provide financial assistance to the Nikola Vapcarov cultural center in Blagoevgrad, which faces closure and whose windows were smashed shortly after it was opened.