May 14: Grigory Petrenko, leader of the party Our Home is Moldova (Red Bloc), was detained around noon today at Chisinau International Airport. NewsMaker.md learned this from Petrenko himself, who was in a bus near the runway.
Petrenko and his wife wanted to fly to Germany for a few days, and he has permission from the court. According to the politician, Riscani Sector Court Judge Gregory Cazacu issued a permit allowing Petrenko to travel abroad from May 13 to May 18. (Grigory Petrenko has been under judicial supervision on his own recognizance for about a month – NM)
The politician passed through passport control, showed the authorization from the judge, and sat down with the rest of the passengers on the bus which was supposed to drive them to the plane. “Suddenly the bus stopped and border guards asked me to leave on the grounds that prosecutor Pico Shendrya [lead prosecutor of the case against the “Petrenko Group” political prisoners] had allegedly called. They said the judge’s permission has been granted to me illegally,” said the politician.
Petrenko refused to leave. When the bus pulled up to the plane, armed border police blocked Petrenko from leaving the bus and getting on the aircraft. According to him, his lawyer Anna Ursachi had already arrived at the airport, but was not allowed to pass to Petrenko. In the meantime, the plane took off without him.
Asked by NM why he needed to fly to Germany, Petrenko said: “On personal matters, and to meet with my comrades of the Left Party of Germany.”
Attorney Anna Ursachi told NM that Petrenko was already back at the departure gate. “The worst has already happened – the Lufthansa flight was delayed for 40 minutes and flew away without Petrenko. The men with assault rifles aren’t with him anymore,” she said.
Ursachi believes that Petrenko was detained illegally, since he had court permission to take off. According to her, the border police detained her client on the grounds that “prosecutor Shendrya informed them of a prohibition on leaving the country, according to a court decision of April 26.” Now she is studying the circumstances of the incident.
Inquiries to law enforcement agencies failed. Calls to the press service of the Prosecutor General’s Office and the border police went unanswered.
Video of Grigory Petrenko’s detention at the airport:
Judge’s authorization for Grigory Petrenko to leave the country:
Translated by Greg Butterfield