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Crime-suspect municipal councillor released from custody

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Crime-suspect municipal councillor released from custody

Photo: karar.com

Burgas Municipal Council deputy chairman Bencho Benchev, who was arrested in Istanbul together with suspected Bulgarian crime gang leader Dimitar Zhelyazkov – Mitio Ochite, was released from custody in Burgas without any charges against him, Benchev's lawyer Boycho Boev said on Monday. Benchev is now at home, seriously ill, the lawyer said, quoted by the Bulgarian News Agency (BTA).

The municipal councillor's arrest was made on suspicion that he had helped Zhelyazkov go into hiding in Turkey. Benchev was extradited from Istanbul along with six other people. They were taken into 24-hour custody.

Benchev was elected to the Burgas Municipal Council on the non-party quota of the Bulgarian Socialist Party. In a statement on Sunday, the party distanced itself from him and urged him to resign from the Municipal Council.

The Special Prosecution Office is yet to determine whether there is enough evidence to bring charges against Benchev. Police found weapons in his home during a search on Sunday. The origin of the weapons and the ammunition for them remains to be ascertained.

Burgas Appellate Court Spokesperson Yovita Grigorova told BTA that the case file has not yet reached the city's Palace of Justice.

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