Newly leaked documents show that Moldova’s pro-West President Maia Sandu was previously the target of police harassment. According to the documents, prosecutors tied to the former regime of the fugitive oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc ordered that she be followed and wiretapped.
The leaks indicate that former prosecutor Dumitru Raileanu ordered that Sandu be surveilled after she allegedly called on Moldovan citizens to riot and overthrow the then-government, headed by Igor Dodon.
“Sandu on social networks urges citizens to mass disorder and to overthrow or change by violence the constitutional order,” said Raileanu at the time, giving his approval for Sandu to be tracked.
Before Plahotniuc fled Moldova in 2019, Sandu and her centre-right Action and Solidarity Party (PAS) formed the opposition. Initially, PAS was a grassroots, extra-parliamentary opposition force; after the February 2019 elections, the party formed a major opposition party within parliament.
The leaked documents also show that criminal investigation bodies at the time wanted to determine the circle of Sandu’s “close collaborators,” with the future President suspected of “holding holding meetings with various people in the criminal world” in an effort to overthrow acting President Pavel Filip.
Explaining his reasoning for ordering surveillance and wiretapping of Sandu, Raileanu argued that “data reasonably lead to a conclusion that she will receive from suspects, or will send them, relevant information, for the criminal case [of overthrowing the government].”
Raileanu is currently being prosecuted as part of a case opened on 2 September 2019 by the current interim general prosecutor, Dumitru Robu. He is being charged for the illegal collection of personal information without consent.
Raileanu is also under investigation for using technical means to obtain hidden information, and of violating the right to secrecy in telephone conversations.
Raileanu has defended his actions, arguing he was only following the orders of Valeriu Cojocaru, the former chief head of the Interior Ministry department in charge of surveillance.
“These [document leaks] are cheap procedures to present some documents out of the actual context. The authorized measure was legal, as it was provided by law and was based on the proposal of a representative of a state institution,” he told national media earlier this week.
Sandu is yet to issue a statement regarding the issue, but has condemned behaviour of this sort under the Filip government. According to one investigation, the last day of Filip’s cabinet in June 2019 saw more than 600 draft ordinances, proceedings, minutes, court decisions and authorization warrants issued against pro-European opposition leaders, activists and journalists.
“Presidential candidate Maia Sandu, Chisinau, 12 November 2016” by oscepa is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0