Appeals court to hear case of Moldovan political prisoners

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Demands pour in for the immediate release of Grigory Petrenko and his comrades.

Appeals court to hear case of Moldovan political prisoners

This article originally appeared at moldnews.md, translated by Greg Butterfield.

On Monday, September 14, the Chisinau Court of Appeals will consider the case of the political prisoners, led by former parliamentary deputy and honorary member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Grigory Petrenko, who were arrested Sept. 6 for taking part in an anti-oligarchy protest in the capital.

Magistrates will consider changing the measure of restraint against the protesters, including Petrenko, the leader of the opposition party Red Bloc.

Lawyers for the political prisoners request that the Appeals Court judges reverse the decision of the Riscani sector court on September 8, which placed the protesters under arrest for 30 days.

“We demand the cancellation of the decision of the Riscani sector court, as well as the immediate and unconditional release of the political prisoners,” Anna Ursachi, lawyer for Grigory Petrenko, told the MOLDNEWS agency.

A preliminary examination of the case is set for 14.00 hours.

The leader of the opposition party Red Bloc, former MP, and honorary member of PACE Grigory Petrenko was detained by police using brute force on September 6, after a protest in front of the Prosecutor General’s Office and an attempt to set up tents on the sidewalk in front of the public agency for a peaceful non-stop protest against the oligarchic regime.

On September 8, the Riscani court placed Petrenko and seven people who participated in the protest under arrest for 30 days. [One was later freed.] The lawyer described the case as a “political order” and an attempt to silence opponents of the regime.

It should be noted that demands for the release of Grigory Petrenko and all the young people detained on September 6 have been issued by the Group of the United European Left of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the Hungarian Workers’ Party, the Communist Party of Ukraine, the Transnistria Komsomol and Communists, the Union of Communist Parties and the Socialist Party of the Republic of Moldova.

Many Moldovan politicians and political scientists have publicly called for the release of the political prisoners. Recently, German Bundestag deputy and PACE member Andrew Junco demanded that the Moldovan authorities immediately release Grigory Petrenko. The MP sent the appropriate letters to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany, the Ambassador of Moldova in Berlin, the Minister of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, as well as the prosecutor’s office.

On September 10, EU Ambassador to Moldova Pirkka Tapiola said that he was aware of the fate of the political prisoners, and that he will carefully monitor the situation. “We already know that people were arrested for 30 days, and I assure you that we will see to it that the authorities are investigating the case properly,” said Tapiola.

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