Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Freedom for Pavel Grigorchuk!

March 26, 2019

We, the undersigned, urgently demand that the government of Moldova release civic activist Pavel Grigorchuk from preventive detention in Chisinau. Grigorchuk was arrested March 21 after leading an anti-corruption protest outside the Moldovan parliament.

Following the protest, Grigorchuk encountered Sergey Syrbu, a leading member of the Democratic Party of Moldova (PDM) dominated by oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc. Syrbu insulted and cursed at Grigorchuk, who responded by slapping the deputy’s cheek. Within an hour, police descended on him. Grigorchuk was placed in preventive custody for 30 days and reportedly faces up to five years in prison.

According to Grigorchuck’s attorney, the activist, who suffers from asthma, is currently confined to the basement of jail PU-13, Building 3 (SIZO), in dangerously cold damp conditions that severely threaten his health. This blatant act of political retribution must be ended.

The prescribed punishment for slapping someone in public is a fine of 200 lei, or approximately 10 euros. But because Grigorchuk is a committed opponent of Moldova’s oligarch-dominated political regime, he has been targeted for political repression. In cooperation with media outlets owned by Vlad Plahotniuc, Deputy Syrbu has concocted a fairytale version of events in which he supposedly suffered head trauma and a concussion from the slap and had to be hospitalised. Syrbu has not allowed any of these claims to be independently verified.

This is not the first time the authorities under Plahotniuc’s influence have targeted Grigorchuk. In 2014, he was arrested in the so-called “Antifascist Case,” where he and another activist were falsely charged with trying to disrupt the country’s elections. In September 2015, Grigorchuk along with several others were brutally attacked and arrested during a peaceful anti-oligarchy protest led by former MP Grigory Peterenko. The “Peterenko Group” were jailed for several months and only released after an international outcry – though the defendants still face serious restrictions on their right to travel and their political activity. Lead defendant Petrenko was forced to seek asylum in Germany. Their case is soon to be heard by the European Court of Human Rights.

All of this establishes a clear pattern of politically-motivated repression against Grigorchuk.

We demand:
  • That Pavel Grigorchuk be immediately removed from the dangerous conditions at PU-13, Building 3, and given appropriate medical attention in a hospital;
  • That Grigorchuk be released from preventive detention;
  • Drop all charges against Girgorchuk stemming from the incident on March 21.
Signers (list in formation):

Jose Maria Sison, chairperson, International League of Peoples’ Struggle
Berta Joubert-Ceci, convener, International Tribunal on U.S. Colonial Crimes in Puerto Rico
Gloria Verdieu, Committee Against Police Brutality-San Diego and Coalition to Free Mumia & All Political Prisoners
Sergei Kirichuk, Borotba – Berlin
Alexey Albu, Borotba – Donbass
Victor Shapinov, Borotba
Greg Butterfield, Struggle-La Lucha newspaper (U.S.)
Milos Raickovich, composer and conductor, Adjunct Assistant Professor, College of Staten Island, CUNY (U.S.)
Dr. Dimitrios S. Patelis, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Technical University of Crete (Greece)

Central Committee, United Communist Party of Russia
Socialist Unity Party (U.S.)
Prisoner Solidarity Committee (U.S.)
International Action Center – West Coast (U.S.)
New Communist Party of Britain
Communist Revolutionary Action (Greece)
Workers International Vanguard League (South Africa)
Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly (U.S.)
Harriet Tubman Center for Social Justice – Los Angeles (U.S.)

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