Represenatives of Western embassies suddenly appear at trial of Moldovan political prisoners

February 15: The next hearing in the case of the Petrenko Group political prisoners is underway at the Riscani District Court in Chisinau, Moldova.

At the beginning of the hearing, it was announced that President of the Court O. Melnichuk had replaced the president of the judicial panel in the “Petrenko case” in connection with the sick leave Judge Ludmila Ursu. She was replaced by Judge Gennady Byrnaz.

For the first time at the trial, representatives of the embassies of several European Union countries, the EU Mission to Moldova and the U.S. Embassy were seen.

Earlier it was reported that the Moldovan courts refused to allow well-known European deputies from becoming guarantors for the release of the political prisoners, citing the need of their personal presence in court as the reason for the refusal.

Guarantees were presented by the head of the European United Left (GUE / NGL) faction in the European Parliament Gabi Zimmer; head of the European United Left faction in PACE, deputy of the Senate of the Netherlands Tiny Cox; MEP Helmut Scholz of Germany and Bundestag deputy Andrej Hunko.

Grigory Petrenko, leader of the opposition party Our Home is Moldova (Red Bloc), former MP and honorary member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was among seven protesters forcibly detained by the police on September 6 after protests in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office and attemtp to set up tents on the sidewalk in front of the institution for a peaceful, ongoing protest of the oligarchic regime. All of them have been in jail since September 6, 2015.

Translated by Greg Butterfield

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