Interim leader of the party “Our Home is Moldova” [Red Bloc]* demands release of imprisoned comrades
*Translator’s note: “Our Home is Moldova” is the Red Bloc party’s old name. The party is still legally registered under that name for electoral purposes, and some media continue to use it.
September 16: The interim head of the party “Our Home is Moldova” (BAT), Alexander Gutowski, demands that the authorities immediately release the arrested chairman of BAT, Grigory Petrenko, and eight members of the party.
At a press conference Wednesday, he told Infotag news agency that the government “is afraid of Petrenko’s activity and the civil society activists who’ve rallied around him.”
“Petrenko and his comrades were arrested during a peaceful picket at the Prosecutor General’s Office on September 6. We are confident that the brawl in which our colleagues were involved, was provoked. Those in custody include the leader and activists of BAT.
“Yesterday’s meeting of the Appeals Court of Chisinau, where lawyers tried to challenge the measure of restraint, was held behind closed doors. Such strict measures are usually only applied to cases involving children, further proof that the government is afraid of them. Specifically for Petrenko, their goal is to put him in jail for a long time,” said Gutowski.
He noted that the members of BAT who remain free are under pressure from the authorities.
“People are called in to ‘talk’ to the police, raids are organized on apartments and houses. Once activists leave the party headquarters to picket, the police arrive to search. This practice is flourishing, especially in the north of Moldova and in Balti,” said the temporary head of BAT.
His colleague Michael Smolenko read the basic demands of BAT to the authorities, among them: the return of billions of euros stolen by troubled banks, the arrest of businessman Vlad Plahotniuc, the recognition of the Democratic Party as an organized criminal group, as well as the holding of early parliamentary elections.
The press conference was told that members of BAT will continue to put pressure on the authorities and sent an official letter to European and international organizations accredited in Chisinau about the “intolerant behavior towards detainees Grigory Petrenko and his party colleagues.”
Translated by Greg Butterfield