Bulgaria Lawmakers Vote to Open Secret Police Archives

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Lawmakers on Wednesday adopted a much-delayed law to open the archives of Bulgaria's former communist secret service, but also voted to keep a small portion of the files secret for "national security reasons."

The new law, adopted more than 17 years after the collapse of the communist regime, requires the publication of all files identifying public figures -- politicians, senior public officials, magistrates, clergymen and journalists -- as former communist secret agents.

Researchers believe that the secret files could shed light on the 1981 assassination attempt against Pope John Paul II and the murder in London of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov, who was working for the British Broadcasting Corp.'s Bulgarian Service.

The legislation includes no sanctions for the former agents, such as stripping them of public office, but only makes their past public.

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