10:14 am - 01/20/2013
A Bulgarian politician today survived an extraordinary assassination attempt when a man stormed the stage and held a gun to his head as he was giving a speech. Fortunately for Ahmed Dogan, leader of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms, the weapon misfired giving him time to react and hit the would-be assassin's hand out of the way. Before he could attempt a second shot the unidentified suspect was tackled to the ground by security guards and delegates attending the conference in Sofia.
A separate group surrounded a shocked Mr Dogan in a protective shield. Politicians then appeared from the audience and begin rained blows on the suspect as he was pinned to the ground. He was later pictured being taken away by police bloodied and bruised. 'Ahmed Dogan is in good health. Everything is under control,' Movement for Rights and Freedoms official Ceyhan Ibryamov told journalists.
Police said they arrested a 25-year-old man from the Black Sea town of Burgas who was also carrying two knives. The liberal MRF party represents ethnic Turks and other Muslims who make up about 12 per cent of Bulgaria's 7.3 million-strong population.
Dogan is seen as one of Balkan country's most influential political figures. Two years ago he was acquitted after a high-profile corruption trial into payments he received as a consultant for a hydro power project. The MRF was a junior partner in the previous Socialist-led cabinet before switching to the opposition following the 2009 elections. In 1996, former Prime Minister Andrei Lukanov was found shot dead near his home in Sofia, though attacks on politicians are rare.