on the defamation case against Katia Kassabova of Compass newspaper
This Statement concerns the defamation case against Katia Kassabova, a journalist with the Compass newspaper, in which, on 11 May 2002, she was found
Mrs. Kassabova, the author of these articles, had received information about the bribes from Manuk Levon Manukian, member of the organisation ‘Civil
In the second article, Mrs. Kassabova
provided an apology for any allegations she
had made which might prove to be false.
The Court found Mrs. Kassabova guilty of libeling each of the four complainants but absolved her
of criminal liability, imposing instead an administrative fine
of 700 leva (approximately 350 Euro) for each libel, as well as requiring her
to pay 1000 leva compensation to each plaintiff for moral damages for the
anguish they had suffered.
The Court found that Mrs. Kassabova
had failed to provide sufficient evidence to rebut the presumption under Bulgarian law that defamatory statements are
false, in part based on the fact that neither she
nor Mr. Manukian provided names of parents who had paid bribes.
In assessing the case, the Court refused to
take into account the apology Mrs. Kassabova
The Bulgarian court specifically refused to consider the apology provided by Mrs. Kassabova
, so to that extent failed to respect this principle.