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Moldova Arrests Ex-Chisinau Police Chief For Role In 2009

CHISINAU -- Chisinau's former police chief was arrested today in connection with the violent protests that led to hundreds of arrests of demonstrators in April 2009, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Iacob Gumenita was charged with abuse of power earlier this month after video footage of last year's protests was handed over to the press by Moldovan acting President Mihai Ghimpu.

Prosecutors said the delay in taking Gumenita into custody was because he told officials he had health problems that needed urgent medical treatment.

Ghimpu, who was an opposition leader at the time of the protests, said Gumenita is one of the men seen in a video kicking demonstrators who are lying in
Chisinau's central square. Ghimpu claims one of the demonstrators later died in a hospital because of his injuries.

Gumenita is the third high-ranking policeman to be charged in last year's violence, after former Interior Minister Gheorghe Papuc and former Chisinau police commissioner Vladimir Botnari. He is the first to be arrested.

Hundreds of participants in last April's protests have claimed they were beaten or even tortured after being detained by the police during the demonstrations.

Many complain that one year after the events little has been done to bring the perpetrators to justice.