President of the Venice Commission

First Vice-President of the Venice Commission

Vice-President of the Venice Commission

Vice-President of the Venice Commission

Bureau member, Venice Commission

Bureau member, Venice Commission

Bureau member, Venice Commission

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

Ambassador, Head of the European Union Delegation to Moldova

Ambassador of the United States of America in Moldova

Chișinău, June 11 2017


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,


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.
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.
Published at 12-06-2017, 15:22.