Moldova: New documents may support release of Petrenko Group political prisoners

This was announced on Thursday, October 8, in Chisinau by an attorney for the Petrenko Group political prisoners, Roman Aronov.

Petrenko Group political prisoners at the Appeals Court
in Chisinau, Moldova, October 8, 2015.
Photo by Alina Rutich

“The court session in the Appeals Chamber started after a delay of three hours. The defense subsequently demanded to defer consideration until tomorrow, because tomorrow we will obtain and provide the court with other documents that may contribute to the release of the Petrenko Group,” said lawyer Roman Aronov.

However, he said, “the judges decided that these documents can be ignored and refused to postpone the meeting.

“Therefore, we have demanded the removal of judges. In our opinion, we can’t trust judges that ignore our right to present evidence for the defense,” said the lawyer.

He said the documents, which are waiting for security, “are instruments of international law that cannot be ignored by the court, and they may significantly affect the process and determine the release of the Petrenko Group.” He did not provide further details.

The magistrates of the Appeals Chamber are considering a change in the measure of restraint in the preventive detention of the political prisoners of the Petrenko Group, arrested during the peaceful protests of September 6.

It should be noted that the meeting was held behind closed doors after the regime decided to declare the hearing on the case of the Petrenko Group political prisoners “classified.” Relatives and friends of the political prisoners and the press were not allowed into the hall. They cannot even come close to the chamber, because the police “flooded” the halls of the court.

Recall that in the framework of the autumn session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 32 deputies from all factions, representing 20 countries, signed a written declaration on the “Petrenko case,” in which they “demand from Moldova the immediate release of all political prisoners.” Thus, according to lawyers, the PACE recognized Grigory Petrenko and his companions as “political prisoners” and oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc as a “threat to democracy.”

Despite this, the Chisinau regime not only did not meet the demands of the PACE deputies, but on October 2 the court extended for another 30 days the detention of all political prisoners, led by former deputy and honorary member of PACE Grigory Petrenko.

Petrenko, leader of the opposition party Red Bloc, former MP, and honorary member of PACE, was forcibly detained by police along with seven other protesters on September 6 after protests in front of the Prosecutor General’s office and an attempt to set up tents on the sidewalk outside the institution for an indefinite peaceful protest against the oligarchic regime. All of them were put in jail for 30 days, and now will be there for another month.


UPDATE: Political prisoners’ hearing changed to Friday

The court hearing in the Appeals Chamber to change the measure of restraint of the Petrenko Group political prisoners, which was held on Thursday, October 8, has been rescheduled for Friday, October 9, at 11:00.

Recall that lawyer Roman Aronov announced the emergence of new circumstances that “could contribute to the release of the political prisoners.” At the same time, the defense demanded the judicial panel due to the fact that it had “no credibility,” but the demand was rejected, and the meeting was rescheduled for Friday. “


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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