Bulgaria queries release of British football fan

Bulgaria queries release of British football fanSofia  - Bulgaria's ambassador to London has queried Britain's decision to release and pardon a British football fan convicted of the murder of a Bulgarian football fan, media in Sofia reported Thursday.

Michael Shields, 22, was released on Wednesday, four years in to a 10-year sentence for the attempted murder of a Bulgarian national following a Liverpool FC game.

Shields has always denied the charge. He was transferred from a Bulgarian jail to a British prison in 2006.

"The Bulgarian court brought a clear and convincing verdict in this case," Bulgaria's ambassador in London, Lyubomir Kyuchukov, told the private news agency Focus.

He called on Britain to present the "new evidence" which led to its pardon of Michael Shields, sentenced in Bulgaria for the attempted murder of a barman in a brawl.

The incident occurred following Liverpool FC's European Cup victory in 2005, when a group of some of the team's fans stopped in the Bulgarian Black Sea resort on return from Istanbul, in Turkey.

His release on Wednesday drew an angry reaction from Martin Georgiev, the victim of the brawl in Varna four years ago. "I want him to spend his entire 10-year sentence in prison," he told the 24 Casa daily.

The court in Varna has also insisted that proceedings against Shields were valid.(dpa)