Moldova: High European official to visit political prisoner Grigory Petrenko

For the first time, the chairman of the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, MP Stefan Schennach, will make an official visit to Moldova on December 21. This was reported by Ana Ursachi, lawyer of political prisoner Grigory Petrenko, at a press conference on December 18.

“The chairman of the Monitoring Committee decided to visit Moldova due to the high degree of concern of the Council of Europe in connection with the Petrenko case and other high-profile cases. This is a first for the Republic of Moldova. Mr. Schennach is a very high ranking official of the Council of Europe, of which Moldova has been a member since 1995. In general, the chairman of the PACE Monitoring Committee rarely makes such visits,” said Ana Ursachi.

The lawyer said that she would personally meet with Stefan Schennach on Monday morning, December 21.

At the same time, she said, the European official will meet with political prisoner Grigory Petrenko, who was imprisoned after a protest in front of the General Prosecutor’s Office against the oligarchic regime, and former Prime Minister Vladimir Filat, who was arrested on suspicion of corruption and profiteering from his influence.

“I know about the intention of Stefan Schennach to meet with political prisoner Grigory Petrenko in the penitentiary. I know that he intends to visit Vladimir Filat,” announced Ursachi.

She added that the visit of a senior official of the Council of Europe will take place after more than 30 deputies of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe signed a resolution which declared Grigory Petrenko and his comrades political prisoners and demanded their immediate release, but the request was ignored by Moldovan authorities.

Then, Chisinau was visited by MEP Andrej Hunko, who visited Grigory Petrenko and ascertained the inhumane conditions in which he is being held in prison, subsequently presenting a public report.

Ursachi also recalled the recent visit of European Parliament representative Helmut Scholz, who was prevented from entering Penitentiary No. 13 to see political prisoner Grigory Petrenko; that is, he was able to see firsthand “[oligarch Vlad] Plahotniuc’s justice in action.”

The lawyer recalled that in his report, the European official noted that “the arrest of Petrenko is a great measure of coercion to silence someone inconvenient; the conditions of detention are unacceptable and suggest that a similar fate could be expected for all those who do not accept the rule of the current regime.”

Translated by Greg Butterfield

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