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Moldova Indicts Former Defense Minister On Assassination Charges

Valeriu Pasat during his trial in June 2005 (file photo) (epa) 7 February 2006 -- Moldovan prosecutors today indicted a former defense minister on charges of trying to assassinate an opposition leader and destabilize the country.

Valeriu Pasat, who was defense minister in 1997-1999, and head of the Moldovan intelligence from 1999 to 2002, is already serving a 10-year prison sentence after he was found guilty in January for abusing his position by selling 21 fighter planes to the United States too cheaply.

The prosecutor's office said in a statement today that Pasat met with Christian Democratic opposition leader Lurie Rosca ahead of the March 2005 elections, and asked him to organize protests to destabilize the government.

The statement said Pasat allegedly had planned to have Rosca killed later and to blame the murder on President Vladimir Voronin to trigger violent protests to undermine the state authority.

Rosca confirmed today that Pasat at the time asked him for help in overthrowing Voronin.

(Flux, AP)

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