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Jailed Moldovan Journalist's Wife Told Husband Healthy, Detention To Continue

Ernest Vardanean (file photo)
Ernest Vardanean (file photo)
CHISINAU -- The wife of a Moldovan journalist jailed on charges of espionage says an official in the breakaway region of Transdniester has assured her that her husband's health is good but that his detention could be extended, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Irina Vardanean told RFE/RL on August 4 that an unidentified official at the Tiraspol headquarters of Transdniester's intelligence service told her by phone this week that her husband, Ernest Vardanean, is in good condition.

She had previously toId RFE/RL that she had been extremely worried after her last meeting with Ernest, on July 23, when he looked ill and depressed.

Ernest Vardanean and another man arrested in Tiraspol on similar charges were visited on August 4 in jail by the head of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's mission to Moldova, Philip Remmler. But Remmler's press office refused to give any details about the visit.

Irina Vardanean added that the Transdniester official, whom she could not name, warned her that her husband's detention will be prolonged on August 7, probably for another 30 days.

Vardanean, 34, was arrested in his hometown of Tiraspol on April 7 and has been accused of 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

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