How Americans perceive observance of human rights in our country...
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14:36, 15 Mar 2019

In a 46-page report, the United States Department of State analyzes the human rights in Moldova as an area that determines the cooperation objectives with our country, IPN reports.

While the law prohibits torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment, the human rights ombudsman reported allegations of torture and physical abuse, mainly in detention facilities and psychiatric institutions, continued. There were cases of mistreatment in pretrial detention within police stations, particularly in regional police inspectorates, says the Country Report on Human Rights Practices for 2018.

In one case, classed as politically sensitive, attorneys for businessperson Veaceslav Platon, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for fraud and money laundering, complained of limited access to their client and multiple restrictions imposed by the prison administration. Also, attempts by Amnesty International, the ombudsman, and human rights NGOs to visit detainees held in connection with the country’s 2014 high-profile bank fraud case were unsuccessful. The police continued the practice of routinely detaining persons sought by unrecognized Transnistrian authorities and transferring them to Transnistrian law enforcement bodies without due process. The country’s courts previously ruled the 1999 agreement establishing such cooperation to be unconstitutional, but the practice continued informally. Although the law presumes the innocence of defendants in criminal cases, authorities did not always respect this presumption.

Official pressure on judges and corruption in the justice sector continued to be serious problems. In June 2018 he courts issued a decision invalidating the results of the Chisinau mayoral election won by a political opposition figure, drawing criticism of the judicial process from civil society, local and international organizations, and EU officials. International and local observers considered the courts’ decision politically motivated, nontransparent, and illegitimate.

In 2017 appeals court judge Domnica Manole was dismissed by a presidential decree following a Superior Council of Magistrates decision declaring her unfit to serve, based upon an advisory opinion by the Security and Intelligence Service (SIS). Legal experts asserted that removal of a judge based upon a SIS opinion was illegal.

In another development, the report authors say in August, a number of politically affiliated media outlets published excerpts from the private email correspondence of several opposition party leaders. Unconfirmed reports of illegal wiretaps of the telephones of leaders; surveillance; threats against family members; and intimidation against regional representatives of opposition parties increased during the year.

While the law provides for freedom of expression, including for the press, authorities did not always respect this right. Pressure on independent media continued during the year, and a number of investigative journalists reported being intimidated and harassed after publishing investigative articles on political figures. 

Concentration of ownership in media remained a problem. According to Freedom House’s Nations in Transit report, the country’s media sector continued to face the same challenges as in previous years: excessive political and oligarchic influence; external and internal propaganda and manipulation; a lack of transparency in media ownership; limited independence for the broadcasting regulatory authority; and unfair competition within the advertising market.

The report says in July Orhei mayor Ilan Shor posted a video on Facebook verbally attacking journalists from Radio Orhei. On August 5, he prevented the journalists from covering an opposition protest in Orhei. The UN Office in the country condemned Shor’s attack as hate speech and incitement to violence against journalists and political opponents and called for an investigation. The Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation and called for the affected journalists to file complaints. Alexandr Petcov, a journalist and former member of parliament, filed a formal complaint. As of November no action had been taken on the case.

The U.S. Department of State considers corruption remained one of the country’s most serious problems. While the law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, the government failed to implement the law effectively, and officials frequently engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. There was widespread corruption within the judiciary and other state structures. The government made some progress in investigating corruption cases involving public officials and the judiciary, but these actions were mostly perceived as selective justice.

Approximately 40 to 50 percent of citizens admitted to having paid bribes to those working in the public sector.

Unprecedented political “migration” and party defections among parliamentarians demonstrated the extent of corrupt influences in parliament and the buying of political support, with more than one-third of members of parliament no longer representing the party that elected them. The 2017 Nations in Transit report indicated that local politicians changed parties presumably for money or possibly due to threats and intimidation.

Other chapters of the report refer to the freedom to participate in the political process, the rights of national/racial/ethnic minorities, religion, refugees, gender identity, right to work, etc.

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