Moldova: Police abuse, threaten supporters of political prisoners in court

Former deputy: Police provoke conflicts at trial of political prisoners

Police agencies again denied access to relatives and supporters of political prisoners who arrived on Monday, December 28, for a judicial hearing at the Chisinau Court of Appeal. According to those present, the police again pushed and kicked women and the elderly.

Police violently prevent family and supporters of political prisoners from entering the courtroom, Dec. 28.

Last week, police also blocked access to the hearing chamber for family members and supporters of the Petrenko group political prisoners. Attending the hearing, former parliamentary deputy Mikhail Polyansky said that “the police wanted to provoke conflict” with the people who came to support the political prisoners.

“If you say that there is no room in the chamber, then remove the dozens of masked men with automatic weapons and there will be room. Your actions provoke conflicts. (…) You do it all intentionally so that relatives are not able to see their loved ones who were arrested and brought to trial,” said Polansky.

Women who came to the hearing said that “the police pointed their guns at women” and unceremoniously pushed them.

The wife of political prisoner Grigory Petrenko, Lilia Petrenko, complained that the police prevent access of the closest relatives, but “selectively allow people without any control.” …


Political prisoners remain in jail into the New Year

The judges of the Chisinau Court of Appeal on Monday, December 28 rejected the request of lawyers for the release from detention of the Petrenko group political prisoners, and so they will remain in prison into the New Year.

The lawyers demanded cancellation of the decision of the Court of Riscani sector to extend the arrest of the Petrenko group for 90 days. The judicial panel, however, composed of magistrates Iurie Jordan, Ghenadie Lysogo and Sylvia Vrabie, rejected the request of protection as groundless and upheld the decision of the lower court to extend their detention.

According to attorney Anna Ursachi, the decision of the judicial panel against the release of the Petrenko group was predictable.

The previous hearing was held in the Court of Appeal last week, on December 23, where former MP, now prisoner of conscience Grigory Petrenko demanded “withdrawal from the judicial panel of magistrates Iurie Jordan, Ghenadie Lysogo and Sylvia Vrabie,” accusing them of bias.

On the other hand, according to the lawyer, a judge filed a request for abstention, thus confirming the “inability to impartially judge the case” of the Petrenko group. Both statements, however, were rejected.

‘Free the Petrenko group!’
Photo: Alina Rutich
Recall that several members and activists of the opposition party Red Bloc, headed by former deputy and honorary member of PACE Grigory Petrenko, have been under arrest since September 6, following a peaceful protest in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office against the oligarchic regime.

The arrest and detention 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.

Within the framework of the PACE autumn session, 32 deputies from all factions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, 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.”

Members of the European Parliament also demanded the release of political prisoners.

Moreover, on December 9, MEP Helmut Scholz arrived in Moldova in connection with the case of the Petrenko group. The European official said that political prisoners led by former deputy Grigory Petrenko should be immediately released from custody.

Recently, Moldova was visited by the chairman of the PACE Monitoring Committee Stefan Schennach in connection with the case.

Translated by Greg Butterfield

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