TRIALS IN MOLDOVA ARE OFTEN POLITICALLY COLORED – FREEDOM MOLDOVA
Trials in Moldova often have a political coloring, maintain experts from the Freedom Moldova human rights foundation.
On Friday, its Administrator Roman Malinovsky said in Infotag at the presentation of the organization’s Report on human right observance in Moldova in March-April 2017 that the situation in this sphere is remaining very problematic in Moldova.
“We have been recording growing instances of abusing power and authority by the law enforcement and other state agencies such as e.g. excessive measures of restraint, dragging out of litigations, making disputable verdicts and judgments and so forth. But what is alarming us the most is that trials often bear an overtly political character”, said Roman Malinovsky.
He drew attention to the case of the so-called Petrenco group, whose members have been recognized even by the U.S. Department of State as political prisoners, “but our Minister of Justice Vladimir Cebotari keeps stating everywhere that there are no political prisoners in the Republic of Moldova”.
“Petrenco group members were kept in custody for more than half a year and then under judicial review that was extended repeatedly for 30 days for a whole year thus depriving them of the fundamental right – the freedom of speech guaranteed by the Constitution”, said the human right activist. [See Infotag’s dossier below.]
For another example Malinovsky mentioned the case of Iurie Bolboceanu, who was detained by Information and Security Service (ISS) officers in early 2017 “for passing secret information to a secret agent of a foreign country”. The former member of the Democratic Party was eventually accused of committing high treason.
“However, the ISS has failed to provide more or less sound evidence of the man’s guilt until now. It is believed that the much-trumpeted ‘secret information’ is merely the preliminary data on the strategy of Moldova’s legislative reforms and the personal data of some Moldovan high officials. But these data do not indeed fall under the legislation on state secrecy or high treason. That’s why that very “secret agent” from the Russian Embassy, whom Bolboceanu had allegedly supplied with top-secret information, did not flee from Moldova, as our authorities claimed, but continued his work in our republic. We believe that this entire story is but revenge for Iurie Bolboceanu’s quitting the Democratic Party yet in 2014”, said Roman Malinovsky.
Yet another loud political case is the accusation of Renato Usatii, Partidul Nostru [Our Party] leader and the Mayor of Balti city, of the attempted assassination of Russian fugitive banker German Gorbuntsov. According to the Moldovan court’s version, Renato Usatii allegedly tried to organize a raider attack and thus appropriate Universalbank of Moldova that belonged to Gorbuntsov. To achieve that, Usatii allegedly hired an assassin to eliminate the scandalous banker.
At the climax of the 2016 presidential campaign, Usatii learned that a warrant was issued for arresting him. The warrant is still in force. Usatii is still hiding in Moscow from what he calls “the Plahotniuc justice of Moldova”, the Gorbuntsov case investigation is said to be still in progress, and this entire story is still causing doubts about the real goal of the investigation – to find the truth or to remove the strong political (and successful) opponent from the Moldovan political arena, said the Freedom Moldova Administrator.
In his words, there are quite many cases with a political smell in Moldova – the cases of businessman Veaceslav Platon, and of lawyers Ursachi and Rudenco etc., which have been also examined in the Freedom Moldova Report.
“The Report will be sent to foreign embassies working in Moldova, and to international human rights organizations, and to the Moldovan authorities. Its main objective is to make our authorities understand that the law is one for all, and that all citizens have rights and not only certain privileged personalities”, said the Freedom Moldova Administrator.
Infotag’s dossier: On September 6, 2015 the Chairman of the “Our Home is Moldova” (OHM) party Grigore Petrenco (who was a member of the previous Moldovan Parliament and an ex-Deputy Chairperson of the PACE Unified European Left group) and eight OHM activists were arrested for 30 days “for organization of unrest”. On that day, they brought tens of their supporters for an action of protest before the Prosecutor General’s Office. The police did not let them approach the Office doors. A noisy scuffle broke out, in which 6 cops were slightly bruised. The Ministry of the Interior put the entire responsibility for the incident on the protesters, the more so that iron chains were found with the protesters, who maintained that it was just a symbol of unity with the people, while the police maintained that the chains were weapons. First the protesters were kept in custody for 6 months, then were placed under a house arrest, and eventually under judicial review, which measure of restraint presupposes prohibition to take part in massive gatherings or the like events or to go abroad.