Rights Abuses against Roma in Moldova
10 July 2002
According to reports recently received by ERRC, the Chişinău police and prosecutor's offices have repeatedly failed to act to protect Mr Iurie Damaschin, a Romani man, from racially-motivated beatings repeatedly inflicted upon him and his partner, Ms Vera Stahu, by Mr Petru Godorogea and his associates, who reportedly are sympathisers of an extremist nationalist movement in Moldova. Moreover, the Chişinău authorities failed to investigate police violence against Mr Damaschin, violence which was allegedly instigated by Mr Godorogea and his associates.
Mr Damaschin was reportedly first attacked in Sucevita street in Chişinău on September 22, 1999. Around noon that day, Mr Damaschin and his brothers, Mr Victor Bodrogan and Mr Ion Damaschin, were beaten by Mr Petru Godorogea. Mr Godorogea's brother, Mr Gheorghe Godorogea subsequently approached the group, identified himself as a police officer, and then left with his brother. After the Godorogea brothers left, another police officer and four national guards arrived and took Mr Iurie Damaschin and Mr Bodrogan to Police Station 5 in Chişinău. There, police officers beat Mr Damaschin with their fists. Mr Damaschin and his brother were then sent to the Buiucani sector police lock-up in Chişinău and were held there for around 24 hours.
According to the testimony provided to ERRC by the victim, a few months later, Mr Petru Godorogea entered Mr Damaschin's apartment and again began to harass him, demanding food and drink. Mr Damaschin managed to push Mr Godorogea out of the apartment, but the threats and harassment continued over the following months. Mr Godorogea also reportedly beat up Ms Stahu and insulted her ethnic identity in the summer of 2001. The same day, Mr Ion Misanovschi, a close friend of Mr Godorogea, threatened Mr Damaschin, saying that "you Gypsies should all be killed".
Finally, around 4 AM on December 1, 2001, Mr Petru Godorogea, his brother Mr Anatoli Godorogea, and an unidentified person began kicking Mr Damaschin's door. Upon opening the door, Mr Damaschin was dragged into the hallway and beaten by the three men, who also reportedly demanded 100 Moldovan Lei (approximately 8 Euros) from him. Ms Stahu called the police; when the police arrived approximately 20 minutes later, the three men ran away. Mr Damaschin subsequently went with the police to the Buiucani station, where he asked an officer on duty to intervene. The officer declined to intervene, reportedly justifying his refusal by saying that he could lock Mr Godorogea up "only for three hours and would have to release him, because he has a brother working for the [Police] Commissioner's Office".
Upon arriving home, Mr Damaschin was reportedly again beaten by Mr Godorogea, who had been waiting by Mr Damaschin's door. According to Mr Damaschin's testimony to the ERRC, Mr Godorogea hit Mr Damaschin with a metal bar and took his coat. The police then finally arrived and detained Mr Godorogea. Mr Damas-chin was subsequently admitted to the Chişinău Emergency Hospital, where he was treated for 17 days for lesions and a fractured leg.
On December 19, 2001, Mr Damaschin filed a complaint against Mr Godorogea with the Buiucani sector Prosecutor's Office in Chişinău. On January 16, 2002, the Buiucani Sector Prosecutor, Mr Vladimir Dilan, told Mr Damaschin that the events reported in his complaint were not criminal in nature. Mr Damaschin appealed this decision before the Municipal Prosecutor in Chisinau on January 25, 2002. On February 21, 2002, the Prosecutor's Office rejected Mr Damaschin's appeal. On May 29, 2002, with the assistance of the Moldovan Helsinki Committee, the ERRC's local partner in monitoring Roma rights in Moldova, Mr Damaschin submitted a written request to Moldova's General Prosecutor Vasile Rusu, asking that he review the case and bring charges against Mr Petru Godorogea. On July 10, 2002, the Moldovan General Prosecutor's Office reportedly refused this request.
(ERRC, Moldovan Helsinki Committee)