Valentin Eșanu, businessman who was convicted in a “political” criminal case and was rehabilitated, said that when he was held in jail in horrible conditions, his only hope to be set free was in the European Union, including in the involvement of the EU Delegation in Chisinau, which closely followed his case. Representatives of the Delegation attended also hearings during his trial and the behavior of functionaries of the justice system in their presence changed, becoming legal. The businessman made such statements in a public debate titled “Political” criminal cases: protagonists, methods, goals, consequences” that was staged by IPN News Agency.
“I want to thank Peter Michalko, the Head of the EU Delegation to Moldova, for the support offered to me. I indeed enjoyed support. I stayed in Penitentiary No. 13 for two years, one year of which I was held alone in a cell, without radio, TV set, press, electric power, heat, clothes. The European Union and the involvement of the EU Delegation in monitoring my case was my only hope as there was no other possible hope there,” stated Valentin Eșanu.
He also said that he didn’t hope he will be set free without the EU’s involvement as he considers the Moldovan justice system is the most corrupt and illegal one. He believes it is highly improbable that things in justice will change as the events witnessed during Plahotniuc’s regime persist yet. In June 2019, he and another 11 persons were recognized as political prisoners by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
Valentin Eșanu, who is the president of the Metals Employers Association, stated that criminal cases were started against him because of the protests he mounted in 2013-2017 in favor of liberalizing the ferrous and non-ferrous metals market. “I consider I was arrested mainly because of the revelations I made about the schemes used to launder money at “Metalferos” and about those who were behind those schemes,” he said.
The businessman noted that while in penitentiary, when he was escorted to hearings, he discussed with arrested MPs, mayors, persons against whom criminal cases were also fabricated. “They all had the same hope and no one believed in a fair justice system and that they will be set free due to it. They all thought about the assistance of the European Union, including of the EU Delegation. They all wrote letters to it,” stated Valentin Eșanu.
According to him, when the representatives of the EU Delegation informed themselves about the detention conditions, the penitentiary’s administration stated to behave in a different way. “There are yet people in our jails who bank on the European Union’s support. They realize that Moldova cannot do it, is not yet ready to do it itself.”
Valentin Eșanu also said that after such cases, the economic consequences for him matter as economic stagnation is witnessed as a result. After he was set free, he started to revitalize his business, but faced pressure on the part of the remains of Plahotniuc’s regime.
The debate “Political” criminal cases: protagonists, methods, goals, consequences” was the 140th installment of the series of debates “Developing political culture through public debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.