Moldova outrage: Court extends arrest of Red Bloc prisoners for another 45 days

The Riscani sector court in Chisinau, at a meeting on Wednesday, October 28, extended the arrest of eight members of the Petrenko Group.

The prosecutor demanded to extend the detention for 90 days. The judge partially granted his request, identifying different members of the group for extensions of arrest from 30 to 45 days. Lawyers for the Petrenko Group, Roman Aronov and Anna Ursachi, announced that they would appeal the trial court’s decision in the Court of Appeal of Chisinau.

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Red Bloc political prisoners in court, Oct. 28.

Court again ignores the demands of PACE, extends arrest of political prisoners for another 45 days

Contrary to the demands of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) deputies for the immediate release from detention of all political prisoners, led by former deputy Grigory Petrenko, the Riscani court decided on Wednesday, October 28, to extend their arrest.

Judge Denis Bebeleu granted the prosecutor’s request for an extension of preventive arrest for another 45 days in the case of political prisoners Grigory Petrenko, Mikhail Amerberg and Pavel Grigorchuk. The period starts on November 5, and thus members of the opposition party Red Bloc will remain in custody until at least December 20.

At the same time the judge decided to extend the detention of the other four political prisoners for 30 days. This is the case with Alexander Roshko, Vladimir Zhurata, Alexandra friends and Oleg Buzni.

The verdict will be appealed to the Appeals Chamber.

Support for political prisoners outside the court in Chisinau, Oct. 28.
Photo by Alexandr Gutovski

The Court continued its consideration of the merits of the case against the political prisoners, led by former deputy Grigory Petrenko. Prosecutors accuse the protesters of “mass riots and violent actions in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office” on September 6.

Recall that a number of members and activists of the opposition party Red Bloc, headed by former deputy and honorary member of PACE Grigory Petrenko, have been jailed since September 6, following peaceful protests against the oligarchic regime.

The detention and arrest of the protesters caused a wave of criticism from international organizations, European institutions and politicians in several countries, who demanded their immediate release from custody.

Moreover, in the framework of the PACE autumn session, 32 deputies from all factions, representing 20 countries, signed a written declaration on the “Petrenko case,” in which they “clearly 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.”

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Translated by Greg Butterfield

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