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Albena Simeonova - Factsheet

Background - 10 August, 2005
Albena Simeonova is an internationally renowned environmental activist. She was born in 1964 and is married with a 7 year old son. She lives in Ljubenovo, near Nikopol, North Bulgaria, where she runs an eco-friendly farm.

One of the first members of the Ekoglasnost environmental organisation in 1987.

Founder of the Bulgarian Green Party in 1991.

Founder/President of the Association for Agriculture and Environment. Founder/President of the Green Justice Foundation.

First advisor on ecology of several ministers.

Founder of the Environmental Inspection in Bulgaria.

One of the leaders of the opposition against the Belene nuclear power plant in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Active in the Pesticide Action Network and the European Greens.

Spokesperson for the Greenpeace Energy Revolution Tour 2005 in Bulgaria.

Winner of the Goldman Environmental Prize 1996. Winner of the UNEP Environmental Prize 1997.

On 16 December 2004, Albena received the first of many anonymoustelephone calls threatening to kill her if she would not stop hercooperation with Greenpeace and her resistance against Belene NuclearPower Plant.

In February 2005, Albena was visited three times, by the director ofthe wine firm Loviko from Suhindol, Pleven Region, who threatened tokill her if she died not leave the area she farms and stop opposing theconstruction of Belene. Loviko is part of the TIM group, a conglomerateof companies that has contracts with Kozloduj -  Bulgaria's onlyexisting nuclear plant - and expects to win highly lucrative supplycontracts if Belene goes ahead. The TIM company became a powerfulcommercial entity after benefiting from the unrest that plagued theregion throughout the 1990s. It dominates the security services marketin Buglaria, but is also involved in chemicals, the import/exportindustry, wine making and agriculture.

When the initial death threats came through, an internationalcyberaction in support of Albena's safety was launched by Greenpeace incooperation with Bankwatch, Friends of the Earth Europe, WISE, ELAW andthe Goldman Foundation, which resulted in police protection. Privateprotection was also organised with support from the Goldman Foundationand Greenpeace.

In the last few months there has been a suspected attempt on herlife which is now being investigated by the interim regional prosecutor.