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Wife Of Jailed Moldovan Journalist Says Police Raided Home

Irina and Ernest Vardanean

Irina and Ernest Vardanean

The wife of a Moldovan journalist jailed on charges of espionage in the breakaway region of Transdniester says their apartment was raided by security officers, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Irina Vardanean, the wife of jailed journalist Ernest Vardanean, told RFE/RL on September 10 that three officers searched the apartment in Tiraspol on September 9 and tried to confiscate the hard disk of the family's computer, but she stopped them.

"I fought back against them," she said. "Having a little baby I work from home and they were trying to deprive me of my last means to earn a living."

Ernest Vardanean, 34, was arrested in his hometown of Tiraspol on April 7 and has been charged with working for the Moldovan secret service in Chisinau.

He was later shown on Transdniestrian state television confessing to being a spy. But his family and friends believe he was forced to confess under pressure.

Irina Vardanean suspects prosecutors need the family's computer to try to fabricate evidence against her husband.

"They have confiscated my husband's computer already, but found nothing," she said. "I repaired our old one to be able to work and there is nothing to be found on it."

The latest incident took place the same day Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat spoke by phone with Transdniester separatist leader Igor Smirnov about Ernest Vardanean's case and that of another man arrested in Tiraspol on similar charges.

Filat told journalists that he did not receive any promises, but Moldovan authorities will continue to pressure Transdniestrian officials to give Vardanean a fair trial.

Irina Vardanean told RFE/RL she has become more desperate since it has now been more than six months since her husband's arrest.

"All doors are closed in Tiraspol and we don't know what lies ahead for us in the future," she said. "Nothing tangible has been done by Moldova either while Russia says it's none of its business."

Officials from Moldova, the United States, the European Union, and several human rights organizations have repeatedly asked separatist officials to grant Vardanean a fair trial and decent conditions in detention.

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