Eastern Partnership: End torture and intimidation in Moldova
(Brussels, 7 May) The EU must urgently raise the issue of recent widespread human rights abuse in Moldova, says Amnesty International ahead of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Prague where the EU will forge closer ties with Moldova and five other former Soviet states.
In a letter addressed to the Czech Presidency (available here) Amnesty International called on the EU to insist that torture and other ill-treatment cannot be tolerated under any circumstances and that civil society must be able to work free from harassment.
“More than 200 people have now confirmed they were tortured while in police detention” said Nicolas Beger, Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office. “It is exactly one month since the authorities clamped down, the EU needs to use this opportunity to press Moldova to ensure that perpetrators are brought to justice in fair proceedings”.
Hundreds of people, including minors, were detained in Moldova following demonstrations on 6 April. Amnesty International has raised concerns about the excessive use of force by the police after the demonstrations, widespread torture and degrading treatment in detention, the failure of the authorities to distinguish between people suspected of having committed crimes and people peacefully exercising their rights to freedom of expression and assembly.
Worryingly, the Moldovan authorities now appear to be punishing civil society for speaking out. Non-governmental organizations, including Amnesty International, are subject to an unprecedented level of scrutiny and are all of a sudden confronted with pressing enquiries from the Ministry of Justice and the tax authorities.
“The EU has an obligation to support human rights defenders and ensure that respect for human rights is the foundation upon which all increased cooperation is based, including the Eastern Partnership” said Beger.
For further comment/background and interviews:
Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Email: [email protected]