ALDE : EU must take Moldovan unrest more seriously


Distribution: immediate - April 15, 2009, 4:44 pm
EU must take Moldovan unrest more seriously
The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) will press for a debate on the situation in Moldova with statements from the European Commission and the Council of Ministers during the plenary session in Strasbourg next week. European Liberals and Democrats deplore the lack of EU reaction to the crackdown on opposition protests in the aftermath of the parliamentary elections and the continuing detention and maltreatment of hundreds of demonstrators.

"We run the risk that silence in Brussels on the disputed outcome of the Moldovan elections is interpreted either as ignorance of or acquiescence to the ongoing intimidation of opposition supporters," said ALDE Leader Graham Watson.

"The European Union must signal its engagement with Moldova's future stability and democratic development through its Eastern Partnership. The government in Chisinau must act swiftly to repair the damage to the credibility of the Moldovan political system caused by reports of vote rigging and human rights violations. Releasing the names of all detained protesters and allowing family members and lawyers access to the prison cells would be a first step in that direction".

Renate Weber MEP (PNL, Romania) said: "Gross human rights violations have been perpetrated in Moldova after the elections: personal security no longer exists, cruel, inhuman treatment and torture are widespread in police detention centers, Moldovan and foreign journalists are pursued and freedom of press is non existent. Moldovan citizens are also being denied the right to entry into their own country. As MEPs, speaking on behalf of our citizens, we must not tolerate such behaviour, nor should the EU."

ALDE MEPs Baroness Emma Nicholson (LibDems, UK) and Henrik Lax (Svenska Folkpartiet, Finland) were EU observers at the Moldovan parliamentary elections. Baroness Nicholson expressed her deep concerns about the fairness of the recent elections amid allegations of fraudulent voter registration and a state controlled media.

"The OSCE report was far too warm on the election," she said. "On the Transdnistrian border I saw grown men and women weeping as they had been refused by the local police to take a bus across the border to vote in Moldova. Some persisted and found other ways to travel only for them to be video-taped, have their papers taken off them and threatened with the loss of their jobs. One candidate told me she had lost 1,000 votes from people being refused access to Moldova."

"I am very concerned about the ongoing detention of large numbers of young Moldovans with no knowledge of who, how and where they are being held. I strongly regret the death of a second young man in police custody and call on the authorities to ensure their safe treatment and access to proper legal representation. "


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