Petrenko: Council of Europe may use additional leverage on the Moldovan authorities

December 25: This was stated by former deputy, now political prisoner Grigory Petrenko, commenting on the visit of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) delegation to the prison where he is held, as well as the possible consequences of this visit for his case, which he considers a political one — an opinion shared by many international partners of Moldova.

Moldovan Red Bloc leader and political prisoner Grigory Petrenko in court.
“We’re not the only ones talking about the political nature of our case. This is explicit in a written statement signed by PACE members on September 30, in which for the first time at the international level we were called political prisoners, and the Moldovan authorities were called upon to free us. The statement was signed by PACE deputies from all political groups, representing 20 national delegations. That is why it received the status of an official document and was posted on the PACE website,” said Grigory Petrenko in an interview with

According to him, “the fact that the PACE Bureau decided to send a delegation to Moldova headed by Chairman of the Monitoring Committee Stefan Schennach is another signal to the authorities of the country that they have crossed a ‘red line.’

“On December 21, I had a meeting with the delegation of the PACE Monitoring Committee headed by Mr. Schennach. They saw Penitentiary No. 13 and the conditions of detention. But they asked not only about that, but also the course of the judicial proceedings. I myself was for several years a member of the PACE Monitoring Committee as co-rapporteur on Albania, and therefore understand that a visit of Chairman of the Committee with the mandate of the PACE Bureau is extremely serious, “said the politician.

“I am confident that Mr. Schennach will inform the leadership of PACE. Such visits always have a continuation. Council of Europe structures have a variety of tools to influence the Member States [of the organization], especially under monitoring. PACE, in turn, has its own forms of response to certain events, violations of human rights and freedoms, etc. Some of them have already been used: a written statement of PACE members, research visits and others. Depending on the response of the Moldovan authorities, the Council of Europe may use additional leverage,” stressed Grigory Petrenko.

A PACE delegation headed by Chairman of the PACE Monitoring Committee Stefan Schennach arrived in Moldova on an official two-day visit in connection with the Petrenko group political prisoners and the case of former Prime Minister Vladimir Filat, who are in the penitentiary. It was the first official Council of Europe monitoring visit to Moldova since 1995.

Recall that the European official visited Grigory Petrenko in the prison, noting “the problematic conditions in the Republic of Moldova,” and expressed hope that “certain problems, identified by Mr. Filat and Mr. Petrenko, will now be resolved in a positive way. “


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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