Promo-LEX: Situation on left side of the Nistru marked by political persecution and severe limitations in 2023

The situation in the Transnistrian region this year has been marked by political persecution and severe limitations imposed on the freedom of expression and the freedom of movement. A report by Promo-LEX Association revealed multiple cases of persecution of people for their political opinions or actions and practices of torture and inhuman treatment applied by the bodies from the left side of the Nistru and the Russian military forces. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, these restrictive measures have intensified, highlighting the authoritarian and repressive character of the regime, IPN reports.

According to experts of Promo-LEX, the murder of the Transnistrian opposition leader Oleg Horjan was the most resounding and most tragic case in the period. On the night of July 17, 2023, Horjan was found dead in his dwelling not far from Tiraspol. He was the victim of the regime in Tiraspol and one of the few public persons who had the courage to invoke the abuses committed on the left side of the Nistru.

“The de facto administration, supported by the Russian Federation, continues to introduce and apply repressive “laws”, creating a climate of fear and intimidation. Furthermore, the continuous practices of abusive conviction and excessive detention point to a systematic practice of human rights violations. Essential evolutions in the cases of activists Victor Pleshkanov and Vadim Pogorletski, who were illegally convicted in 2022 for criticism leveled at the de factor administration or the Russian invasion of Ukraine, weren’t witnessed. Meanwhile, the state of health of Victor Pleshkanob worsened and he was diagnosed with an oncological disease,” noted the Association.

The violation of the right to free movement is another serious phenomenon that maintained its intensity. The consolidation of the infrastructure of checkpoints and the shortcomings witnessed in the work of the peacekeeping mission favored practices to ban access to the region.

“It is regrettable that after tens of years of abuses and illegalities, confirmed repeatedly by the ECHR, the authorities in Chisinau responded often late and inefficiently to the human rights violations in the region. So far, there was initiated no process by which to identify an efficient mechanism for punishing persons to blame for abuses and violations of the basic rights. Such a step is needed to stoop the negative effects of the phenomenon of impunity from which the representatives of the de facto administration in Tiraspol benefit,” stated Promo-LEX.

In this connection, the Association’s experts recommend securing access to the Transnistrian region for human rights defenders and representatives of the media from the right side of the Nistru, promoting the necessity of staging working and monitoring visits to the Transnistrian region for UN special rapporteurs and experts, instituting by the end of 2024 a mechanism of interinstitutional cooperation between the Moldovan constitutional authorities, international organizations and NGOs for coordinating the efforts to monitor and deal with cases of human rights violations.

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