Bulgarian presidential candidate Boyan Rasate detained and charged for attack on LGBT event

A far-right nationalist candidate in Bulgaria’s November 14 presidential election was detained and charged with hooliganism and infliction of an injury over a weekend attack on an LGBT community centre in Sofia, prosecutors said on Wednesday.

Boyan Rasate, a politician known for his strong anti-LGBT positions, has been detained for 72 hours, after his legal immunity as a presidential candidate was waived.

He has not admitted any guilt and has declined to make a statement, prosecutors said.

“The crimes committed stand out with their extreme audacity and disrespect for the democratic foundations of the state,” prosecutors said in a statement.

A group of about 10 people led by Rasate stormed the Rainbow Hub during a trans community event late on Saturday, hitting one employee in the face, and overturning stalls and tables, the Bilitis Foundation, which runs the centre, said.

The attack has drawn criticism from Bulgaria’s leading political parties and was strongly condemned by 11 Western embassies to Sofia.

The ambassadors of the United States, Britain, France, Ireland, Denmark and the Netherlands among others have called the attack “senseless” and have visited the Rainbow Hub centre on Monday to show their solidarity.

Rasate, who was sentenced for violating public order during Sofia’s first gay parade in 2008, faces up to five years in jail if convicted.

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