In Bulgaria, the grounds and procedure for arrest are explained in the Ministry of Interior Act. But it is also important that the police are not using these grounds in the wrong way. For example, if the police know that you did not commit an offence, but they still want to ‘fish’ for information and therefore arrest you.

Requirements

To evaluate whether your arrest may violate your human rights, namely, your right to liberty and security, you should pay attention to the following requirements:

  • The police must have a reasonable suspicion that you have committed an offence. Reasonable suspicion means that the police already have information that would satisfy an objective observer that you may have committed an offence. An objective observer is, for instance, someone who is not related to you and not interested in protecting you
  • The police or other appropriate authorities must have the intention to try you for the suspected offence. If they do not have such an intention, they must not arrest you.
  • The arrest order or protocol has to clearly state which ground for arrest is being applied in your case and why. It must contain both statement of the relevant provisions of the law, as well as a description of the relevant facts on the basis of which you are suspected of having committed an offense.
  • The police or other authorities must not trick you into surrendering. For example, they cannot invite you to come to the police station for another reason and then arrest you for an offence.
  • The arrest has to be truly necessary in the specific circumstances of the case. For example, if someone has been caught exactly at the moment of stealing a mobile phone from a shop and this person would run away if not arrested and would later be impossible to find.
  • You must be held in a place that is meant for persons arrested on criminal suspicion. In Bulgaria, you should be held in specially equipped police premises specifically designed for holding arrested persons and corresponding to the relevant standards

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education