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Moldovan court of appeals upholds arrest warrant for opposition party leader

November 01, 2016, 18:20 UTC+3 CHISINAU
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CHISINAU, November 1. /TASS/. Chisinau’s Chamber of Appeals has upheld a 30-day arrest warrant for the leader of the opposition Our Party, Renato Usatii, that was issued on November 24, Prosecutor Vitalie Busuioc told journalists on Tuesday.

"The judges turned down the appeal of Usatii’s lawyers demanding the arrest warrant be revoked," he said, adding that Usatii is charged with acting in collusion with a criminal groups suspected of fraud and with complicity to a contract murder attempt.

The party’s deputy leader, Ilian Casu, accused the authorities of exerting pressure on the opposition. "It is a fabricated political case administered by Plahotniuc [a deputy leader of the ruling Democratic Party of Moldova - TASS] as Renato Usatii is the most staunch opponent of this regime," Casu told journalists on Tuesday. He recalled an incident when Our Party was barred from taking part in the parliamentary elections in 2014 just a couple of days ahead of the voting. The accusations used as a pretext to do that later proved to be false. Back then, the authorities came under criticism from international observers for this move.

According to earlier reports, prosecutors demanded an arrest warrant for Usatii on the basis of accusations advanced by those involved in criminal cases opened in London and Bucharest following the murder of Russian banker Gherman Gorbuntsov in London in 2012. Usatii was a witness in those cases.

Usatii, who is currently staying in Moscow, has been put on the international wanted list. The politician, who is a holder of the Russian passport, said he is ready to cooperate with the investigation, "but not Moldovan.".

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