So observed former deputy Grigory Petrenko on the October 9 decision of the Appeals Chamber in Chisinau, Moldova, to maintain custody of all the political prisoners detained at a peaceful protest against the current government on September 6.
“Today’s decision of the Appeals Chamber is political; our being kept under arrest is a political order. This statement does not belong only to us – the deputies of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe are discussing it, and there is a corresponding declaration,” Petrenko said on October 9, after the decision was announced.
|Red Bloc leader Grigory Petrenko (center) gives statement after Appeals Chamber decision, October 9.|
According to the politician, the decision of the Appeals Chamber “shows that the government is afraid of protests, afraid of social discontent, afraid of its own people.”
“This decision is actually an attempt to intimidate citizens who oppose the oligarchic regime, who oppose Plahotniuc, Filat and the other scoundrels. It is an attempt to intimidate other opposition leaders. But we will continue to fight and we will win,” said Petrenko.
Magistrates of the Chisinau Appeals Chamber rejected the petition of attorneys for the political prisoners for their release from custody, describing it as “unjustified.” Thus, the judges upheld the decision of the Court of Riscani Sector on October 2 to extend the arrest of all political prisoners for another 30 days.
|Political prisoners chant ‘Jail Plahotniuc!’ after Appeals Court upholds their detention.|
The decision of the Appeals Chamber was taken contrary to the demands of the PACE deputies to release Grigory Petrenko and all other arrested protesters.
Recall that on September 29, as part 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,” which “clearly demands from Moldova the immediate release of all political prisoners.” Thus, according to attorneys, PACE recognized Grigory Petrenko and his companions as “political prisoners” and oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc as a “threat to democracy.”
Grigory 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 a demonstration in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office and attempt to set up tents on the sidewalk outside the institution for an indefinite peaceful protest against the oligarchic regime. All of them have remained in jail since September 6.
Translated by Greg Butterfield