Report: Moldovan police beat over 300 peaceful protesters in April
Moldovan police beat and otherwise ill-treated at least 300 peaceful protesters of the nearly 700 they detained following the parliamentary elections in April, says a report released today by the Soros Foundation – Moldova. In at least 100 cases, the ill-treatment took place inside police commissariats.
Entrenching Impunity documents personal accounts of people who suffered beatings, sleep deprivation and verbal abuse at the hands of police after the April demonstrations. This report is the most extensive collection of information available to date on the number of individuals police apprehended during the April events.
“The Moldovan government must act quickly to identify and hold accountable those persons at all levels of government who participated in, ordered, or supervised acts violating human rights,” said Clarisa Bencomo, international human rights expert and author of the report.
Peaceful demonstrations to protest the outcomes of the parliamentary elections in April turned violent when a small number of demonstrators began throwing stones at police. Authorities made little effort to control rogue elements in the crowd; by the evening of April 7 they started a horrible campaign of mass arrests, which lasted a few days.
According to the report one woman testified that “For three days I had no food. We were interrogated, asked questions about what party we belonged to, and who paid us to come. They used psychological pressure to try to scare us. One said, ‘you realize you have been used, like a condom.’”
The report also offers recommendations for the new government to end impunity and restore confidence in the justice system. The Foundation’s recommends creating a truly independent public commission to continue investigations into the events in April, make public recommendations for reforms, and promote accountability.
The Moldovan authorities have denied that its law enforcement officers engaged in widespread abuses against demonstrators and detainees. Prosecution officials have unnecessarily delayed opening criminal investigations, arbitrarily rejected complaints, and engaged in intimidation of victims and lawyers who persisted in pursuing criminal complaints against police.
The Report in English, Romanian and Russian is available on our website: www.soros.mdSoros Foundation–Moldova