CHISINAU -- A Moldovan man imprisoned for espionage in the separatist Transdniester region says he will not change his plea
of not guilty in order to gain a pardon, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.
Ilie Cazac, 24, a clerk from the town of Bender on the border between Transdniester and Moldova proper, was jailed for 15 years in February for allegedly spying for Chisinau.
His relatives recently filed a pardon request, which was rejected this week.
Cazac's mother, Stela Surchicean, told RFE/RL on August 17 that the request was rejected because he refuses to plead guilty.
Surchicean added that her son would never plead guilty and "humiliate himself."
Ernest Vardanean, a Moldovan journalist who spent more than a year in a Transdniester prison on similar charges but was pardoned in May
, told RFE/RL on August 17 he too believed the reason why Cazac was still in jail was that he refuses to change his plea.
Vardanean was released after admitting to having spied for Moldova. He did so both in his pardon request and in a public appearance on the separatists' TV channel.
"I have no remorse about that," Vardanean said. "Look at me, I'm free."