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Moldovan opposition Our Party leader accuses authorities of seeking to discredit him

October 28, 2015, 7:16 UTC+3 CHISINAU

Usatii was detained at Chisinau’s international airport on Friday upon arrival from Moscow

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© AP Photo/Roveliu Buga

CHISINAU, October 28. /TASS/. The leader of Moldova’s opposition Our Party and mayor of the second largest city of Balti Renato Usatii said on Tuesday he was confident the authorities were insisting on his arrest to discredit him in the eyes of the voters.

"The prosecutor general’s office is seeking to challenge at the Chamber of Appeals the court ruling on my release from custody," he told journalists. "The case is an obvious fabrication, with no proof of my guilt. That is why any real court is to pass a ruling in my advantage."

In his words, the Moldovan authorities were doing everything they could to discredit him. "It is a secret to no one that our court cannot be called independent. So, whatever a ruling the court passes, they will be saying I am engaged by the authorities and everything is done to boost my ratings."

Meanwhile, spokeswoman for the prosecutor general’s office Maria Vieru said on Tuesday after additional consideration of Usatii’s case prosecutors insisted on his detention for a term of 30 days for a period of investigation. She said a request to this effect had been referred to the Chamber of Appeals that was to consider it within three days.

Usatii was detained at Chisinau’s international airport on Friday upon arrival from Moscow. The Moldovan politician is suspected of violating privacy of correspondence after he had published on his Facebook page 15 audio records of telephone conversations.

These are allegedly the conversations between businessman Ilan Shor and Vlad Filat, former prime minister and the leader the Liberal-Democratic party. Filat was arrested last week on charges of corruption and involvement in the large-scale theft from the country’s banking system.

Usatii was released earlier on Sunday, following a ruling passed by the Chisinau court on Sunday. The court thus rejected the prosecutors’ demand to extend the opposition leader’s preliminary arrest by another 30 days.

After his release on Sunday, Usatii said his party would step up protests demanding resignation of the pro-European authorities.

"Protests will be continued and intensified. Our demands remain the same: resignation of the president and the ruling alliance For European Integration, and early elections. We will put thousands of tends, we will wake up the entire country," he said, adding that his detention was yet another evidence of "the agony of the ruling regime."

"By arresting a man who made public conversations between corrupted politicians who stole a billion, the authorities have demonstrated their absolute impotence," Usatii said, adding he had posted in a social network "evidence proving that Moldova’s authorities are corrupted." "They even paid for service of American political technologists at the elections with the money they had stolen from clients of Moldovan banks," he said.

Usatii’s party was removed from parliamentary elections last November three days before voting. The leader had to flee the country after a number of criminal cases had been initiated against him. In the spring 2015 he returned to Moldova and won the mayoral elections in Moldova’s second largest city of Balti.

On September 25, Our Party activists, along with supporters of the Party of Socialists, which has the biggest faction in the Moldovan parliament, declared an open ended protest action and put a tent camp in front of the parliamentary building in central Chisinau demanding early elections. Having declared Moldova "a country seized by oligarch," they demand resignation of the authorities and chiefs of a number of state institutions.

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