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Former Detention Camp Officials Go On Trial

June 8, 1993

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) _ Four people, including a former government official, went on trial Tuesday for the deaths of 14 inmates in Communist-run prison camps more than 30 years ago.

Prosecutor General Ivan Tatarchev last week announced he would seek death sentences for the suspects: Mircho Spasov, 82, former deputy interior minister; Petar Gogov, 78, a former camp chief; and former camp guards Nikolai Gazdov, 73 and Yuliana Razhgeva, 53.

All four were indicted on charges of premeditated murder.

Gogov and Gazdov served at the Lovech men’s camp in northern Bulgaria. Razhgeva, a retired female militia sergeant, also served in Lovech and in the Skravena women’s camp near Sofia. Spasov was in charge of the camps.

In his indictment, Tatarchev cited witnesses as telling investigators that Gazdov and Razhgeva beat prisoners to death with wooden sticks.

Lovech and Skravena, which operated from 1959 to 1962, held many political prisoners. Tatarchev said that 147 of the camps’ 1,201 prisoners were killed.