Moldova: Appeals court keeps political prisoners under house arrest

By Marina Supac

April 4: The Appeals Chamber (AP) of Chisinau today upheld the decision of the Metropolitan Court of Riscani Sector for an extension of the house arrest of the Petrenko Group for another 30 days. AP judges felt that lawyers had insufficient grounds for appealing the decision of the trial court.

Political prisoner Grigory Petrenko exiting court in Chisinau, Moldova.
Photo: Maxim Andreev, Newsmaker

Prosecutors gave several reasons to extend the arrest of the Petrenko Group: the accused may escape from the country, commit a new crime, exert pressure on witnesses or interfere with the judicial process.

For his part, the leader of the party Our Home is Moldova (Red Bloc), Grigory Petrenko, said that “the extension of the arrest was illegal, and the prosecutors’ arguments are not supported by any evidence.”

The Petrenko Group will remain under detention through April 28. The next court hearing is scheduled for April 20. It is expected to hear testimony of defense witnesses.

Recall that on March 23, the Metropolitan Court of Riscani Sector softened the conditions of detention under house arrest for the Petrenko Group by ordering the removal of electronic bracelets from the accused. At the same time, the court extended their term of arrest for another 30 days.

Grigory Petrenko, the leader of the party Our Home is Moldova (Red Bloc), and six of his associates were arrested on September 6, 2015 during a protest outside the Prosecutor General’s Office. The court has several times extended the provisional arrest of the Petrenko Group, and just over a month ago they were transferred to house arrest.

Petrenko and his associates are accused of organizing mass disturbances (Art. 285 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Moldova). They face imprisonment for up to eight years.


Translated by Greg Butterfield

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