Court releases nationalist leader on bail

Sofia City Court said their 72-hour detention was illegal, adding the two were not likely to go into hiding or commit another crime.

The National Palace of Culture in central Sofia, Bulgaria

Bulgaria's nationalist party leader and another lawmaker, detained on charges of hooliganism on Tuesday, have been released on bail, the court said on Wednesday after a two-hour overnight sitting.

Volen Siderov, leader of the fiercely anti-NATO and anti-European Union Attack party, and party deputy Desislav Chukolov were released on bail of 6,000 levs ($3,265) each.

In widely broadcast televised footage, Siderov and a group of Attack deputies and supporters entered Bulgaria's National Academy for Theatre and Film Arts on Oct. 23 and angrily remonstrated with students. Police had to escort them from the building and one man appeared to hit Siderov in the face.

Last week, Siderov and Chukolov gave up their immunity from criminal prosecution, allowing for proceedings into their alleged involvement in the incident in downtown Sofia to take place.

Prosecutors requested the detention to be extended indefinitely, saying the two were clearly demonstrating a "feeling of impunity".

"Prosecutors made a huge gaffe," the 59-year-old former journalist Siderov said in a statement after his release.

Attack currently has 11 lawmakers in the 240-member parliament, where centre-right parties strongly supportive of Bulgaria's EU and NATO membership hold a majority of seats


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