Moldova: Political prisoner Grigory Petrenko at risk of tuberculosis infection

November 10: Grigory Petrenko, former parliamentary deputy, leader of the opposition party Red Bloc, and current political prisoner jailed in Penitentiary No. 13 following a peaceful protest in front of the General Prosecutor’s Office in Chisinau, Moldova, was exposed to the risk of contracting tuberculosis in prison.

Grigory Petrenko in court.
This information was confirmed for the MOLDNEWS agency on Tuesday, November 10, by the political prisoner’s lawyer, Ana Ursachi.

“Grigory Petrenko’s wife told me that the political prisoner had been informed by a penitentiary guard that the courtyard where he spent an hour a day walking was used exclusively by tuberculosis patients. I immediately visited Grigory Petrenko and ascertained the accuracy of the information provided by his wife. So, as a result of warnings about the danger to which Grigory Petrenko was subjected for weeks, he has refused to walk for several days, refused to leave the cell for one-hour walks in the yard infected with tuberculosis,” said Ana Ursachi.

The lawyer described the incident as “torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.”

“I recall the night a search was organized by several staff members of the Department of Penitentiary Institutions (DPI) (not Penitentiary No. 13, emphasized the lawyer), on a Sunday night. I also recall how, as directed by the head of the DPI, Petrenko was forbidden to use a device for heating food, allowed in most prison cells. And I also remember how staff at Penitentiary No. 13 were subjected to unprecedented pressure and threats of layoffs (some were even implemented) for any attempt to improve the situation of Grigory Petrenko, even in the face of the law. However, deliberate exposure to TB infection is a crime. All of this lawlessness began when Alexander Pynzar [a henchman of oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc] was appointed head of the DPI,” said the lawyer.

She said that it would be reported to “authorized organizations for the protection of human rights at the United Nations, and the lawsuit filed with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), under Art. 5 of the Convention (unlawful deprivation of liberty), will by complemented with reference to Art. 3, “torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.”

At the same time, Ana Ursachi noted, “the information will be immediately transmitted to the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) office in the Republic of Moldova, the head of the EU delegation, and the Council of Europe’s office in Moldova.”

Several members and activists of the opposition party Red Bloc, headed by former deputy and honorary member of the Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe 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,” which “clearly demands from Moldova the immediate release of all political prisoners.” Thus, according to lawyers, PACE recognized Grigory Petrenko and his colleagues as “political prisoners” and oligarch Vladimir Plahotniuc as a “threat to democracy.”


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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