Judge in Moldovan court ignores defendant's racial motives

10 April 2001

On December 22, 2000, the Court in Chişinău, Moldova, delivered judgement on three men accused of murdering Mr Ion Loghin, a 31-year-old Romani man, on January 26, 2000. According to information provided to the ERRC, one year prior to his murder, Mr Loghin had loaned Mr Ştiuca, with whom he ran a jewelry business, 800 Moldovan lei (approximately 70 euros). The prosecution alleged that on January 26, 2000, Mr Loghin had asked Mr Ştiuca for re-payment of the loan. Mr Ştiuca also, according to his testimony, stated that Mr Loghin had wanted to end their business relationship. Mr Cernei, one of the accused, told the court that it was for these reasons that Mr Ştiuca had decided to kill Mr Loghin with the help of his friends. In the evening of January 26, 2000, Mr Nicolai Ştiuca, Mr Serghei Cernei, and Mr Gabriel Fortună ambushed Mr Loghin and killed him with an axe, burying his body in the basement of municipal hospital Nr. 1, where the police later found it. Of the three defendants, only one confessed to the murder — Mr Cernei — stating among other things, that he hated Mr Loghin because he was Gypsy. However, according to the Moldovan Helsinki Committee representative monitoring the case, the judge made no reference in his verdict to the confessed racial motive and racial animus was not explicitly condemned at any part of judicial proceedings. Mr Cernei was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment, Mr Ştiuca to 17 years, and Mr Furtună was given a one year suspended sentence.

(Moldovan Helsinki Committee)


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