After nearly two years of trial in the “Petrenko Group” case, the hearing of June 15, which was supposed to be the last before a verdict was pronounced, was again postponed. The reason was the same as last week, when prosecutors asked for additional time to prepare for closing arguments.
“It’s been 20 months since the protest on September 6, 2015, in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office, when we were arrested, but the case has been delayed constantly, each time by the prosecution. Now that we have reached the stage of final pleadings, the prosecutors first requested an additional seven days, and they were given 10 days to submit their speeches in writing, but this time were again unprepared. What do you do with students who come to class with unfinished homework? In this case, the court gave prosecutors additional time, without notice, without penalty. The court gave them a week to prepare. I’m not sure that in a week they will come prepared with their homework,” said Grigory Petrenko after the adjournment of the trial.
According to the former deputy, the hearing is delayed because “the prosecutors have nothing to say, because this case was fabricated, they don’t have a single convincing piece of evidence, nothing to prove that there was an offense. Not to mention the very serious accusations of mass riots, which are completely unjustified.
“I think that the prosecutors are waiting for final instructions from the GBC in this case. [GBC -Global Business Center, the headquarters of Moldovan oligarch and Democratic Party head Vlad Plahotniuc.] I believe that this was an eloquent example for those who are monitoring this trial, including the diplomatic corps, of how the justice system functions in Moldova, how the law enforcement agencies function,” added the politician.
|Judges granted another delay at prosecutors’ request.
Recall that Grigory Petrenko, former deputy and leader of the opposition party Our Home is Moldova (Red Bloc), and his comrades were arrested after taking part in anti-oligarchy protests in September 2015.
After more than six months in prison and two months under house arrest, the “Petrenko Group” was placed under judicial control, but with a number of restrictions, including a ban on participating in protests and leaving the city (later the country). Judicial review has been extended on a monthly basis at the request of prosecutors.
The members of the Petrenko Group were recognized as “political prisoners” in a U.S. State Department report on human rights, by representatives of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and by the Federal Government of Germany.
Ex-deputy: Representatives of diplomatic missions saw that judicial authorities only operate when given orders
Representatives of diplomatic missions had the opportunity to see “in person” how the Moldovan judiciary and legal authorities are working “on orders” in the case against the Petrenko Group.
This was announced by the former deputy and leader of the opposition party Our Home is Moldova, Grigory Petrenko, on Thursday, June 15, after the adjournment of the trial due to “unprepared” prosecutors.
|Grigory Petrenko after trial adjournment on June 15.|
“Every time we inform Moldova’s foreign partners about what is happening in our case, many of them are shocked by the attitude of the prosecutors, by the court-imposed restrictions on us — the ban on participation in protests, the ban on leaving the Republic of Moldova,” Petrenko said.
“Today, they have witnessed that we have justice and law enforcement authorities who operate only when they are given instructions. They do not operate in accordance with the law. In accordance with the law, they should have come prepared today to submit their arguments in writing, requiring a specific punishment for each defendant, if they did not reconsider, and then the defendants were to have the last word, and the court’s verdict. We are very grateful to the members of the diplomatic missions who came today to monitor the hearing,” said the former deputy.
The hearing was attended by representatives of the U.S. Embassy, the German Embassy, the EU Delegation to Moldova, the French Embassy and the OSCE Mission to Moldova.
“A lot of people were present, and I am sure that they will come next time, because for them it is a very important issue, an example of how legal institutions function in Moldova, how human rights are respected. We believe this is a political case, and our fundamental rights have been violated. The right to free expression, the right to assembly. I think that in a democratic country, no criminal case would have been opened, and if it was opened, then we would be acquitted,” the politician said. …