By JUNKAD SABRUKANOVICHA, Reuters LGBT rights campaigners are calling on President Robert Kochchev to release the body of a gay Bulgarian man killed by the Bulgarian state over the weekend, the first such murder in the country in two decades.
The body of 22-year-old Andrei Dzhirniy was found in a toilet in a public toilet in the capital Sofia on Sunday after a police search in the city.
The killing sparked a wave of outrage in Bulgaria, where gay men have been attacked and killed in recent years.
The case was investigated by the national anti-discrimination authority, which found there was no evidence to substantiate the claim.
The Bulgarian Socialist party has called for the president to release Dzhirs death certificate to allow for an independent inquiry into the circumstances of his death.
“The president should open the official investigation into the murder of Andrei and release the death certificate.
The president should also immediately order a public inquiry into what took place that day,” deputy party leader Deryan Vodrudov said in a statement.
The head of the ruling coalition, Andrei Dubrovski, said on Twitter that “the President has the right to act” on Dzhiri’s death.
Dzhirns death came as the European Union’s chief human rights commissioner expressed alarm at Bulgaria’s new law allowing a person to face up to 15 years in prison for homosexuality.
The European Commission said the law, which has been widely criticized for being overly broad, “does not provide adequate protection for gay and lesbian people”.
“The commission is deeply concerned about the situation of LGBT people in Bulgaria,” European Commissioner Viviane Reding said.
The EU has called on Bulgaria to reverse its decision.
“Banks and financial institutions should be free to lend to businesses and individuals who are open about their sexual orientation and gender identity, while maintaining their independence and autonomy,” EU commission spokeswoman Elisabeth Koehler said.
She said EU member states should ensure the freedom to invest in the economy.
“If the country does not take this step, its future as a member of the EU will depend on the ability to do so,” she said.
Banks have been criticized for not lending to companies or individuals who were open about being LGBT.
In February, a Russian bank, NTV Bank, suspended lending to an unnamed gay man, saying it had been informed of his criminal record.
On Saturday, a gay rights activist was shot dead by police in the southern city of Varna, where a gay bar was set on fire.
A Bulgarian judge ordered the release of the body in the Bulgarian capital on Sunday, the second death in the last two weeks in Bulgaria over the issue.
The government has said it is “deeply saddened” by the death.
In 2015, the country became the first EU member state to legalise gay marriage.