Bulgarian court upholds acquittal in Paris murder case
Bulgarian appeals court has acquitted two men charged with the brutal murder of a student in Paris in July 2000.
The two students, 29-year-old Georgy Zhelyazkov and Stoyan Stoichkov, 28, were arrested by the French police and later charged in Bulgaria with the murder of the 24-year-old law student, who died after being stabbed 93 times.
A court acquitted the two in March 2008 and Ivanka Vacheva, the mother of the victim, accused judges of being "bought" by the father of one of the defendents.
The acquittal can be appealed within 15 days at the Supreme Court of Appeal.
The ruling was immediately condemned by the French ambassador, Etienne de Poncins, who said he had received the news "with much amazement and incomprehension.
"It is necessary to remind that the French police and judiciary transferred to the Bulgarian authorities precise, concurring and overwhelming proof against the two defendents," he said.
"The ruling comes almost nine years after the crime during which time the suspects were never arrested," De Poncins added.
Bulgaria joined the European Union in 2007 but the slowness of its judiciary and its failure to resolve crime cases prompted the European Commission to place the country under a strict monitoring mechanism.