The Freedom Moldova Human Rights Foundation expresses its concern about new restrictions on access to justice and transparency of justice imposed by the new version of the Rules on publishing court judgments on the national portal of courts of law and on the website of the Supreme Court of Justice, approved by the Superior Council of Magistracy (SCM) on October 10, 2017.

Under the new Rules, the SCM has toughened conditions of publishing court judgments and partially limited access to them for journalists, civil society and even the parties in trial, as follows:

- Rule 9 requires deleting information on date and time of court session, after it was held. Information shall be published at least 3 days before the scheduled date of court session, so that it will be impossible to verify under the deleting requirement.

- all parties in trials that may infringe upon the interests of justice (?) or a trade secret shall be anonymized (Rule 18 para. c)). Therefore, with reference to a trade secret or the so-called ‘interests of justice’ it allows limiting access to information on high profile cases, including the so-called “$1 billion fraud” case.

- court rulings shall not be published anymore on the national portal of courts of law (Rule 19), except for decisions on the merits.

Besides few abovementioned tightenings the Rules failed to bring something new and there was no reason to reword it ‘in a new version’ (after it was enacted in June 2016).

The Freedom Moldova Foundation considers that the above changes simply roll back the commitments of the authorities concerning open access for all citizens to legal cases, which Moldova assumed in 2007 , and for which since then huge resources were allocated by the international partners of our country.

We urge the Superior Council of Magistracy to revise those paragraphs of the new Rules that additionally limit access to justice and its transparency. We also reserve the right in the terms established by the law to appeal against the SCM decision on the new Rules to the Supreme Court of Justice.

See the Moldovan Government Resolution No.776 as of 03/07/2007, para.36 publishing on the web portal the information of public interest on activity of courts of law
http://lex.justice.md/ru/324494/


October 11, 2017
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Published at 12-10-2017, 16:33.

Published at 26-09-2017, 14:08.

The Freedom Moldova Foundation has already called attention several times that the actions of police during the protest rallies became much more aggressive and at the same time are not legally acceptable (use of numerous police officers in plain clothes, use of tear gas, etc.).

At the rally held on September 17, 2017, its participant, Alexei Alexeev was detained. The police claim that he “rammed his car into the police cordon”.

Leaving out of consideration who needed the so-called “ram” and why, the fact that the car moved at very slow speed, and there were no police officer injured, is obvious. At least, no medical examination was submitted over the past days (though it has to be done immediately upon getting injury).

The fact reported by police that police officers “stopped” the car cannot but be surprising and elicit bewilderment as the car moving at any speed can hardly be “stopped” by human bodies.

The Freedom Moldova Human Rights Foundation expresses its outrage over the actions of the prosecutor and the judge on this case, who decided again to apply an exclusive measure of restraint for the defendant, in particular the arrest in penal institution.

We regard Alexeev’s detention as another attempt of the authorities to intimidate peaceful protesters using for this purpose the law enforcement agencies and the judicial system.

We demand Alexei Alexeev to be released from under arrest and the criminal prosecution against him to be terminated for the lack of evidence and elements of crime.

September 22, 2017
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Published at 26-09-2017, 14:06.

The Freedom Moldova Human Rights Foundation earlier reported many violations of the legal proceedings during the pre-trial investigation and the trial on the so-called “Platon’s case”. It is to be recalled that Veaceslav Platon, who is one of the few key witnesses in the case of “$1 billion bank fraud”, has been removed from his trial on the far-fetched and extremely doubtful reasons. Despite a wide public resonance the so-called “Platon’s case” gained, the court sessions are unjustifiably held behind closed doors.

It is reasonable that in such conditions the only chance of the defendant to exercise his right to defense is the meetings with his lawyers through whom he somehow can inform the court and the public about his position. However, even this obviously cutdown, faulty, but at least some semblance of continuation of legal assistance is failed to be provided by the Department of Penitentiaries and in particular by employees of the Penitentiary No.13.

We need to note that defendant Veaceslav Platon, who claims that he has the necessary proofs and information connected with the $1 billion bank fraud in Moldova, is systematically deprived of the right of access to his lawyers.

The administration of the Penitentiary No.13 therefore violates provisions of the legislation on the Bar, the Correctional Code, the Code of Criminal Procedure, actively interferes not only with the implementation of the detainee’s right to defense, but also hampers citizens to find socially significant information on the case of “$1 billion bank fraud”.

Freedom Moldova expresses its concern about the illegal actions of the administration of the Penitentiary No.13, and emphasizes that such developments are nothing less than the intended isolation of the defendant (who is already in prison) from the outside world.

We call attention of all interested organizations and international structures dealing with monitoring of the functioning of democratic institutions in the Republic of Moldova to the unprecedented violations of the rights, standards, and procedures in the so-called “Platon’s case”. The intended and systematic obstacles the authorities put to not allow shedding light on actions of organizers and perpetrators of the “fraud of the century” prove again that the prosecution of Veaceslav Platon is politically motivated.


August 22, 2017.
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Published at 23-08-2017, 10:55.

The Freedom Moldova Foundation continues to monitor the events concerning detention of two participants of the protest rally held on July 19, 2017, – S.Tomsa and S.Vlasov. In the rally day the circumstances of their detention already raised flags about the police work. Subsequently both detainees have received 10 days of administrative detention for the so-called “resistance to the police officer”. No independent witness and video evidence of the “resistance” have been provided to the court of law, and the general public either. The court has unreasonably applied an exceptional measure to punish peaceful protesters – the administrative detention.

We believe it another example of the police and judicial arbitrariness. We have to note that the cases when the plainclothes law enforcement officers pull out from ranks of protesters and subject them to punishment with the purpose to intimidate all others, have become a trivial routine for the police. We condemn the use of police officers for the political purposes as provokers to discredit peaceful protest rallies.

Freedom Moldova is also concerned about the conditions in which the injured protesters were held under arrest. Those conditions failed to meet elementary standards of safety, were inhuman and obviously aimed at intimidating.

The Freedom Moldova Foundation considers that on July 19, the police very seriously violated the rights of citizens to peaceful protest. The Foundation calls attention that the police shall be bound to ensure public order during protest rallies, including the protesters’ safety.

August 8, 2017

http://newsmaker.md/rus/novosti/menya-nachali-dushit-kak-poslednego-ugolovnika-blits-intervyu-nm-s-sergeem-tomshey-32886
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Published at 9-08-2017, 09:16.

Published at 27-07-2017, 08:43.

Published at 14-07-2017, 08:23.

Gianni BUQUICCHIO,
President of the Venice Commission

K. TUORI,
First Vice-President of the Venice Commission

Ch. GRABENWARTER,
Vice-President of the Venice Commission

H. Kjerulf THORGEIRSDOTTIR,
Vice-President of the Venice Commission

Aivars ENDZINS,
Bureau member, Venice Commission

Gagik HARUTYUNIAN,
Bureau member, Venice Commission

I-W. KANG,
Bureau member, Venice Commission

Talia KHABRIEVA,
Bureau member, Venice Commission

Antonio TAJANI,
President of the European Parliament

Jean-Claude JUNCKER,
President of the European Commission

Thorbjørn JAGLAND,
Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Jose Luis HERRERO,
Head of the Council of Europe Office in Moldova

Pirkka TAPIOLA,
Ambassador, Head of the European Union Delegation to Moldova

James PETTIT,
Ambassador of the United States of America in Moldova



Chișinău, June 11 2017

STATEMENT AGAINST THE CHANGE OF THE ELECTORAL SYSTEM IN THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA


We, the participants in the Protest of 11 June 2017,

COMMITED to the development of the Republic of Moldova as a democratic, prosperous state based on the rule of law and European values,
CONCERNED about the limitation of the citizens’ rights to representative, free and fair elections as well as of the right to fair and proportional representation of all the citizens in the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova, regardless of their residence,

INDIGNANT AND OUTRAGED by the capture of state institutions by the leaders of the Democratic Party, which led to the manipulation and discrediting of democratic processes, to precarious economic development, endemic corruption, selective justice, political control of the press and media propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of the public opinion on the most important public issues and the increase in the emigration of Moldovans abroad,

AWARE that the proposed change of the electoral system is in the interest of the Democratic Party of Moldova, the Socialists’ Party and the discredited politicians, and against the interests of the citizens and of democracy in Moldova,

DECLARE:

1. That we firmly oppose the change of the electoral system to a mixed or a majoritarian (uninominal) model, based on the following reasons:

a) Contrary to the provisions of the Council of Europe’s Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters:
- There is no political and social consensus required for implementing such a fundamental reform, while the advocates of the reform, according to the polls, are only backed by less than 40% of the voting population;
- Taking into account the enormous administrative, financial and media resources at the disposal of the Democratic Party, it is clear that the purpose of this electoral system reform is to ensure the advantage of this party, its affiliated forces and the Socialists’ Party in the next Parliamentary elections;

b) The change of the electoral system will seriously distort the objective and proportional representation of the political parties that will run in the next Parliamentary elections, by:
- Significantly increasing the risk of electoral fraud at the level of constituencies and the risk of voter manipulation by compelling the independent candidates to join the governing party;
- Drastically diminishing the role of the Diaspora in the elections, as it will be impossible to establish abroad constituencies that will be proportional to the number of voters, as well as, the exclusion of voters from Transnistria.

c) The examples of Romania and Ukraine confirm that the mixed electoral system will increase the possibility of electoral fraud and the level of political corruption, which is already at alarming levels in Moldova;

d) The change of the electoral system will strike a blow to the emerging opposition parties and will undermine the role of the opposition as an indispensable force for a true democracy;

2. We demand that the Parliament of the Republic of Moldova urgently withdraws the draft law on changing the electoral system and focuses instead on improving the present electoral system, thus ensuring the right to free and fair elections for all Moldovans.

3. We call on the Venice Commission, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the European Parliament, and the United States of America to support the strengthening of democracy in the Republic of Moldova, and to demand from the Moldovan authorities free and fair elections under the present proportional system, in accordance with the highest standards.


The international community should not stand idle when basic democratic freedoms in Moldova are under permanent siege from a government that has discredited itself in front of its own people. We encourage our friends to stand by the people of Moldova, not by a corrupt political elite engaged in a silent power grab.
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Published at 14-06-2017, 12:08.

In its first periodic report the Freedom Moldova Foundation called attention that the activity of the Penitentiary No.13 is marked by a large number of complaints and scandals related to cruel treatment of arrestees and convicted inmates by the penitentiary administration, and related to limitation of their basic rights. Many different detainees in the Penitentiary No.13, their lawyers, non-governmental organizations and the People’s Advocate (ombudsman) repeatedly reported that the detention conditions in the Penitentiary No.13 fail to meet the minimum requirements, and the Penitentiary No.13 administration establishes in fact the orders toughening the existing instructions of the Code of Corrections and other regulations.

The biggest human rights violation, which on can imagine, is tortures, and the Penitentiary No.13 was also repeatedly accused that it applies different types of tortures (including physical) to prisoners. So, earlier it was reported about deprivation of the prisoner of drinking water , about confining them in basement cells in brutal conditions, about their deprivation of elementary essentials . Some employees of Penitentiary No.13 were accused by Military prosecutor's office and were tried for torturing prisoners.

Flagrant confirmation to the fact that the situation in the Penitentiary No.13 continues to worsen has been received the other day. It is about the most cruel, dangerous and brutal form of torture – beating of detainees.

Mass media reported on 05.06.2017 that there were searches in the Penitentiary No.13 on 03.06.2017, in the result of which several forbidden objects were found, in the consequence of that the unspecified number (according to our data more than twenty people) of allegedly guilty persons from among inmates were beaten by the Ministry of Justice’s Pantera SWAT officers. A part of beaten detainees were underaged.

Information on the fact of use of physical force to underaged detainees was confirmed by the employees of the Ombudsman for Children, who had personally visited Penitentiary No.13.

The Freedom Moldova Foundation deems it absolutely inadmissible that the administration of penitentiary institutions, which already have sufficient leverage on detainees whose rights are already significantly limited, resorted to violence, SWAT and tortures. What happened has become possible only under the passive eye of all institutions responsible for the state of affairs in law enforcement and penitentiaries, first of all, the Ministry of Justice and the Public Prosecutor’s Office. The Pantera SWAT is even more often used for intimidation, brute force applied not only towards prisoners, but also towards media representatives, civic activists, lawyers during high-profile trials (Platon’s case, Filat’s case, earlier case of the so-called “Petrenco's group”).

It is revealing that nobody has voiced the position of the Penitentiary No.13 administration on this outrageous example, and we learn about it only from the reports of the third parties. The latest news in the website section “The Chisinau Penitentiary No.13” was posted in October 2016 (!). The Ministry of Justice has disregarded the event. In the news section on its website, the Department of Penitentiaries made the only one (!) remark “The Department of Penitentiaries informs that several cases of disobedience by detainees, including the underaged inmates, of legal and reasonable demands of the penitentiary personnel have been registered during security procedures”.

The Freedom Moldova Foundation resolutely condemns use of physical force against detainees by representatives of the Department of Penitentiaries and the Pantera SWAT, and insists on the fastest investigation of such facts.

June 7, 2017.

http://protv.md/stiri/actualitate/imagini-din-penitenciarul-13-cum-arata-peretii-geamurile-paturile---1279201.html
http://moldnews.md/rus/news/84358
http://newsmaker.md/rus/novosti/anna-ursaki-usloviya-soderzhaniya-chlenov-gruppy-petrenko-rezko-uhudshilis-21243
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mmf_P9c4miI
https://ru.crimemoldova.com/news/kriminal/ombudsmen-podtverdil-fakt-zhestokogo-obrashcheniya-s-nesovershennoletnimi-v-tyurme-13/
https://www.facebook.com/Oficiul-Avocatului-Poporului-497701353616168/
https://point.md/ru/novosti/proisshestviya/neskolko-zakliuchennykh-penitentsiara-13-byli-izbity-v-tseliakh-profilaktiki
http://www.penitenciar.gov.md/ro/tags/penitenciarul-nr13-chi%C8%99in%C4%83u
http://penitenciar.gov.md/ro/content/comunicat-de-precizare-6
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Published at 12-06-2017, 15:22.

Published at 24-05-2017, 12:14.

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