Was Bulgarian Politician Really Target of “Assassination Attempt”?

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This video shows the moment when Ahmed Dogan, the leader of Bulgaria’s ethnic Turkish party, was confronted by a gunman during a televised speech.

The assailant mounts the stage and points a weapon at the politician’s head. An audible click is heard as the attacker, later named by police as 25-year-old Oktai Enimehmedov and dressed in a black leather jacket, unsuccessfully attempts to discharge his gun.

The politician swats the weapon away from his face; Enimehmedov is then wrestled to the ground by security guards. A number of politicians then appear from the audience – and proceed to deliver a sustained beating to the incapacitated attacker.

The botched attack was initially portrayed as an assassination attempt, but it has since been reported that Enimehmedov did not actually want to kill his intended victim. He was, after all, using a gas pistol — a non-lethal weapon which nonetheless can cause life-threatening injuries if fired from close range, according to the AP. He was later shown being led away, covered in blood, by police, to face charges of “grave hooliganism” and issuing a death threat. If found guilty, he could face six years in prison.

Amid media speculation that it was all a hoax, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov said the attack was “probably not staged”, according to the Bulgarian news agency Novinite. Borisov  reportedly “carefully watched footage of the attack and believed that Dogan was genuinely scared when he saw the gunman.”

Dogan, 58, who was jailed during Bulgaria’s communist era after protesting against the deportation of thousands of ethnic Turks, and was later found to have been a paid informer for the secret police, reportedly resigned from his post as party chairman in the hours after the attack.