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Former Moldovan President May Face Prosecution

Vladimir Voronin
Vladimir Voronin
CHISINAU -- Prosecutors in Moldova have asked parliament to lift the immunity from prosecution of the country's former president, Vladimir Voronin, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Acting President Mihai Ghimpu, who is also parliament speaker, today read out to lawmakers a letter from the Prosecutor-General's Office requesting that the legislature strip Voronin, who currently heads the opposition Communist parliament faction, of his immunity from prosecution.

The letter alleges that while he was president, Voronin contributed "through negligence in office" to the death of a protester and the beating of many others by police during the youth rallies against his government in April 2009.

The letter says Voronin failed to take appropriate measures to prevent the violence and did not call for a meeting of the country's Supreme Security Council when it started.

Voronin has not reacted to the Prosecutor-General's request. But several Communist parliamentarians told journalists that the demand is political and that Voronin's foes in the current ruling coalition were behind it.

According to Moldovan law, the immunity of a parliamentarian can be lifted by a simple majority of votes in parliament. The ruling coalition has 53 out of parliament's 101 seats.

Voronin, 69, led Moldova from 2001 to 2009. His Communist party won the controversial elections in April 2009, which were followed by youth protests in Chisinau, but lost the repeat elections in July 2009 to the four-party Alliance for European Integration.

Moldova faces early parliamentary elections in October or November.