Gagauzia: Still No Trial for Political Prisoner
Following the release of the two last political prisoners in
Below are extracts from an article written by Karen Ryan and published by The
CHISINAU (Tiraspol Times) - After
Two opposition politicians are still languishing in Chisinau jails, awaiting trial while their health is failing. Both of them have been defended by U.S. State Department officials, but to no avail.
In one case, an opposition politician and human rights lawyer from the Gagauz minority was arrested on trumped-up charges and is held incommunicado. Ivan Burgudji had sought safe haven in
Meanwhile, another member of the opposition - Valeriu Pasat - is also kept in Moldovan jail as a political prisoner. E. Wayne Merry, a former State Department and Pentagon official, has publicly called the Pasat case "a travesty of justice".
" - This Soviet-style political trial was in reality designed to squelch political opposition," says E. Wayne Merry, while also calling all charges against Pasat "entirely bogus."
Ivan Burgudji persecuted for political beliefs
Ivan Burgudji was arrested as he went to cast his vote in Gagauzia's December 2006 elections for governor. A leading figure in the Gagauz community, he had urged voters to cast their vote for the opposition and not endorse the candidate supported by
The irregular arrest - which a local Gagauz witness likened to a "kidnapping" - took place in Ciadir-Lunga, the second largest city of
This is not the first time that Ivan Burgudji has been the target of arbitrary arrests and torture. The United States raised his case in the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna over a similar 2002 incident when he was "taken into custody, held incommunicado, and presented with an arrest warrant only after the fact," according to the U.S. State Department.
These actions "do not meet our definition of the Rule of Law or basic international standards for the rights of the accused," said Deputy U.S. Chief of