23 November 2017
Bulgarian Defence Minister admits ladders being used to climb over fence at border with Turkey
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The Bulgarian government has come under sustained opposition criticism for several months about the fence. Officials recently said that the fence had been significantly damaged by heavy rainfall, while photos have been circulated not only of people climbing over the fence, but also showing a large hole underneath it."
See: Bulgarian Defence Minister admits ladders being used to climb over fence at border with Turkey (Sofia Globe, link):
The article also notes:
"Karakachanov said in the October 20 interview that people-trafficking was continuing because of corruption among border guards.
There is a ladder, there is trafficking in human beings, we have to solve the problem of illegal migrants and the corruption that makes this happen, but it is laughable to ask for the resignation of a deputy prime minister and a minister because the fence was declared a strategic site for national security, he said."
On this point, see:Bulgaria Welcomes Refugees With Attack Dogs and Beatings(The Intercept, link, emphasis added):
"Algafari [a former translator for various Bulgarian security institutions] told me he was troubled by the violence and corruption he saw in this job. He tried to raise the matter with his superiors, then with the Bulgarian prosecutors office, and finally with the Ministry of Interior. But he said his plaints fell on deaf ears, so he had decided to tell his story publicly.
In Bulgaria, police involvement in smuggling is called the police channel. Algafari told me the police channel began in 2014. Initially, when we began asking the migrants and documenting how much money they had paid the smugglers, how much cash they were carrying, the border police started noticing that there was a lot of money involved, Algafari explained. Which made them think Hell, I should get on board with this business.
Algafari described the same procedure the smugglers outlined. Depending on where the particular border agent accepting the bribe finds himself, he texts the smuggler in Turkey on a phone given to him by the smugglers, Algafari said. Hes not using his personal phone for this. He sends the information about the location and the time lets say, that a certain border location will be open between 7 and 7:10 p.m. today.
Then, he explained, the cameras on the border, which are moveable, literally look the other way. If there is a fence, Bulgarian police open the door. And the passengers cross without a problem. But when the Bulgarian police find a group that hasnt paid, Algafari explained, the police take everything from them. They take money, valuables, and, he added: They take their phones, so they cant call 112 [911 in Europe] after the police beat them up."
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