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Laura Codruta Koevesi (right), former chief prosecutor of the National Anticorruption Bureau (DNA), arrives at a police station in Bucharest on March 29.

Demonstrations have been held across Romania to voice support for a former top Romanian prosecutor who has been banned from leaving the country or talking to journalists as part of a probe.

Some 1,000 people turned out in Bucharest on March 30, shouting messages of support for Laura Codruta Koevesi, a former anticorruption prosecutor.

Rallies were also held in other cities including Cluj, Sibiu, and Timisoara.

On March 28, the Romanian body that investigates prosecutors and magistrates announced the restrictions on Koevesi, who’s been charged with heading a criminal group. She denies wrongdoing.

Koevesi is considered a front-runner to become Europe's leading corruption-fighting official, despite opposition from Romania's ruling Social Democratic Party.

As Romania's chief anticorruption official, she successfully prosecuted hundreds of lawmakers for graft. The government engineered her dismissal last year, claiming mismanagement.

EU Parliament President Antonio Tajani on March 29 expressed concern about the situation, adding that parliament "stands by its candidate" to head the European Prosecutor's Office, a new office that will fight fraud.

With reporting by AP
Since March 27, 23 Crimean Tatars have been arrested and placed in pretrial detention.

The European Union has called on Russian authorities to stop targeting Tatars in Russian-annexed Crimea.

A court in the Crimean capital, Simferopol, said on March 29 that since March 27, 23 Crimean Tatars had been arrested and placed in pretrial detention until May 15, on charge of belonging to the banned Hizb ut-Tahrir Islamic group.

An EU spokesperson said in a March 30 statement that the European Union expected "all illegally detained Ukrainians to be released without delay."

"The European Union expects the Russian Federation to end these practices and to take all necessary steps to ensure that human rights and fundamental freedoms can be exercised by all in Crimea, without discrimination on any grounds," the statement added.

Since Russia seized the Ukrainian peninsula in 2014, Russian authorities have prosecuted 31 Crimean Tatars for allegedly belonging to Hizb ut-Tahrir.

In February, the branch of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in the Black Sea region launched probes against eight alleged members of the group accused of plotting to seize power in Crimea.

Hizb ut-Tahrir is a global organization based in London that seeks to unite all Muslim countries into an Islamic caliphate.

The group can operate legally in Ukraine.

However, Russia's Supreme Court banned it in 2003, branding its supporters "extremists."

Rights groups and Western governments have denounced what they describe as a campaign of repression by the Russian-imposed authorities in Crimea who are targeting members of the Turkic-speaking Crimean Tatar community and others who have spoken out against Moscow's takeover of the peninsula.

Russia took control of Crimea from Ukraine in March 2014 after sending in troops, seizing key facilities, and staging a referendum dismissed as illegal by at least 100 countries. Moscow also backs separatists in a war against government forces that has killed some 13,000 people in eastern Ukraine since April 2014.

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"Watchdog" is a blog with a singular mission -- to monitor the latest developments concerning human rights, civil society, and press freedom. We'll pay particular attention to reports concerning countries in RFE/RL's broadcast region.

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