Police uninterested in violent robbery of Romani couple in Moldova
15 August 2001
According to reports provided to the ERRC,the police have recently failed to take action when Roma have fallen victim to violent attacks in Moldova. On January 14, 2001, at around 2:30 AM, Ms Mariana Stoian, a Romani businesswoman was returning home in Edinet from a wedding in the same town by car, together with her husband Mr Vasilij Negrea. When they arrived home, while Mr Negrea was putting the car into the garage, Ms Stoian entered the house and was making her way to the kitchen when she was suddenly attacked by three masked men, armed with handguns and chair legs. The men reportedly grabbed Mrs Stoian and threw her to the floor, stuffed a cloth in her mouth and tied her hands and legs. They beat her about the head and on her chest, stomach and legs. Ms Stoian's husband was also attacked as he entered the house and his legs and hands were tied. The men beat the couple with a household iron they found in the house, with a metal bar and with chair legs. The men reportedly stole four gold rings and two gold necklaces Ms Stoian was wearing, and a gold bracelet from Mr Negrea's wrist. A videocamera, videotapes, and two sheepskin coats were also stolen and the attackers demanded money. Ms Stoian lost consciousness as a result of the pain inflicted by the beating. She recovered approximately an hour and a half later; the attackers had left and the window was open. She managed to remove the gag from her mouth and shouted for help. A neighbour found and untied her. The two women found Mr Negrea on the floor of the bedroom tied, bleeding and unconscious. They called the police who, upon arrival, questioned the victims.
Mr Negrea and Ms Stoian told the police that they suspected a man from their town of the attack and provided his name to them, but, according to their testimony to the ERRC, the police refused help, telling them to settle the dispute themselves. Mr Negrea and Ms Stoian also sought help, unsuccessfully, from the prosecutor and on January 18, 2001, wrote a letter to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but had not, as of July 12, 2001, received a response. On February 2, 2001, Mr Teodorescu Nicolae Anton, vice-commissar of the Edinet Police station, told the ERRC that on January 15, 2001, the police had opened a criminal investigation into the case but had not found any evidence that a robbery had taken place. Mr Teodorescu also stated that it is hard to deal with Roma and that for this reason the police prefer to let the Roma settle disputes themselves.