Moldova: Court, prosecutor conspire to keep political prisoners behind bars

December 7: All arguments of the Petrenko group’s lawyers were rejected by the judges in the Riscani district court of the capital, who even refused even a demand to immediately begin consideration of the merits of the case against them.

Those present at the hearing noted the bias of the judges, who took only the arguments of the prosecutor. None of the substantiated claims of the lawyers challenging the composition of the court, which has seriously violated procedural rules, as well as the prosecutor, who had a discriminatory attitude towards the accused, were accepted. 

Armed, masked Interior Ministry troops removed a photojournalist from the courtroom during the hearing of Petrenko Group political prisoners in Chisinau, Moldova, December 7.
The judges also rejected a complaint against the prosecutor, based on the public admission of capital prosecutor Ivan Dyakov that the “Petrenko case” was fabricated with the assistance his direct superior – Riscani sector prosecutor Igor Popa.

Grigory Petrenko, former MP and leader of the opposition Red bloc party, stated that such behavior by the court reflected a “predetermined political order to reach a verdict for the continuation of preventive detention at all costs.”

“Despite the fact that there are still 13 days before the expiration of the current term of preventive detention, the prosecutor came to court for an official decision on the extension of our arrest. This is done deliberately, instead of quickly begining consideration of the merits, which would show the absurdity of the charges,” said Petrenko.

The judges also decided to ban media from the hearing, and a masked special forces officer, with a gun at the ready, rushed to remove a photojournalist who snapped a few photos from the courtroom.

As a result, the hearing was rescheduled for Tuesday, December 8, at 1:00 pm. Ludmila Ursu, presiding at the trial, stressed that they are not going to hear anyone’s arguments on the case Tuesday and will begin meeting by hearing the public prosecutor’s request for an extension of detention of the political prisoners of the Petrenko group.

On December 8 Member of the European Parliament Helmut Scholz will arrive in Moldova on a mission that includes a detailed investigation of the progress of the trial of the Petrenko Group political prisoners.


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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