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Moldovan Election Official Briefly Detained In Transdniester

CHISINAU -- Moldovan Central Electoral Commission (CEC) head Eugen Stirbu says he was briefly detained by officials in the breakaway Transdniester region, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Stirbu said he and another CEC member, Victor Costetchi, entered Transdniester by car from Ukraine on June 21. They had flown to Odesa from Poland after serving as international observers during the June 20 Polish presidential election.

Stirbu said they were stopped by police at Cuciurgan, in Transdniester, and taken to the region's capital, Tiraspol. He said he was told he was charged by separatist authorities with attempting to organize "illegal" local elections in 2007 in Corjova, a disputed border town.

The men were released after three hours and allowed to continue their journey to Chisinau.

Stirbu told the press in Chisinau after the incident on June 21 that it was "unpleasant" but "not serious."

At the same briefing, Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Victor Osipov, the government's representative in talks seeking to resolve the Transdniester conflict, advised other Moldovan officials to avoid traveling to Transdniester. He warned that the separatist leadership has "invented" legal charges against many of them.

Transdniester broke away from Moldova in the early 1990s, sparking a short but bloody war.