Bulgarian High Court Dismisses Spetter’s Appeal Against Death Sentence for Alleged Espionage
Menu JTA Search

Bulgarian High Court Dismisses Spetter’s Appeal Against Death Sentence for Alleged Espionage

Download PDF for this date

The Bulgarian High Court in Sofia has dismissed the appeal by Dr. Heinrich Spetter, the Bulgarian Jewish economist, against the death sentence imposed on him for alleged espionage and has confirmed Dr. Spetter’s conviction and sentence. The only way now to save the life of the 53-year-old former Bulgarian representative on the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) is through an appeal for clemency to Todor Zhivkov, the Bulgarian head of state.

Dr. Spetter was sentenced to death May 31 by the Sofia District Court following a trial which lasted only four days. Only his wife was admitted into the courtroom. Dr. Spetter was defended by a distinguished Bulgarian lawyer, secretary of the Lawyers’ Guild, and a member of the Communist Party, Velichko Ivanov. But the District Court took little notice of the defense attorney’s arguments.

Dr. Spetter’s appeal was heard by the High Court on Aug. 5 when he was again represented by Ivanov. Relatives of the defendant were informed of the High Court’s decision last night. Throughout, Dr. Spetter has asserted his innocence. All efforts by Amnesty International to intercede on his behalf with the Bulgarian authorities failed.

Friends and relatives of Dr. Spetter appealed today to world public opinion to intervene in this new “Dreyfus Case,” as they described it. They Insist that the espionage charge is a complete fabrication, and that the trial was only motivated by political and internal considerations.

Founding Funders

The digitization of the JTA Archive would not have been possible without the generous support of the following donors:
  • The Gottesman Fund
  • Righteous Persons Foundation
  • Charles H. Revson Foundation
  • Elisa Spungen Bildner and Robert Bildner, in honor of Norma Spungen
  • George S. Blumenthal
  • Grace and Scott Offen Charitable Fund