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Moldova Condemns Arrest Of Journalist In Transdniester

Ernest Vardanean (file photo)

Ernest Vardanean (file photo)

Acting Moldovan President Mihai Ghimpu has condemned the arrest of an independent journalist in the country's breakaway Transdniester region and promised to seek international support for his release, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Ernest Vardanean, a 33-year-old stringer for the Transdniester news agency Novy Region 2, was arrested on April 7 at his home in Tiraspol, the capital of the self-styled republic.

Moldovan and Russian media say he is accused of spying for Moldova and could receive a 20-year prison term if found guilty.

Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Victor Osipov, the government's point man for the Transdniester conflict, told RFE/RL that Vardanean's arrest shows the separatists' unwillingness to talk to civil-society representatives or tolerate freedom of speech.

Before his departure today for Brussels and Washington, Osipov said that he will try to mobilize international support to secure Vardanean's release.