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Transdniester Officials Say Jailed Moldovan Confesses To Espionage

The parents of Ilie Cazac on a hunger strike in front of the Russian Embassy in Chisinau on June 17
The parents of Ilie Cazac on a hunger strike in front of the Russian Embassy in Chisinau on June 17
CHISINAU -- The ministry for state security in Moldova's separatist Transdniester region has published the alleged confession of a jailed man that separatist authorities say is a spy, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Ilie Cazac, 24, was arrested by Transdniester police on March 22 in his hometown, Bender, on charges of spying for Moldova. He is awaiting trial on charges of high treason. If found guilty he could face up to 20 years in prison.

Transdniester's state security ministry said in a press release on July 2 that Cazac's confession was made in a letter addressed to the head of the OSCE Mission to Moldova, U.S. Ambassador Philip Remler, who visited Cazac in prison two weeks ago. In it, they said he had confessed to spying for Moldova since 2004.

Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Victor Osipov denounced the alleged confession as bogus. He told RFE/RL that the confession proves separatist authorities do not have any evidence against Cazac.

Cazac's parents are in the fourth week of a hunger strike they are holding in front of the Russian Embassy in Chisinau. They say they are not allowed by separatist authorities to visit their son and they have asked Moscow to intervene to secure his release.

But the Russian ambassador has said Cazac's parents should talk directly to the de facto authorities in Transdniester.

Cazac's alleged confession comes almost two months after separatist authorities aired on state television a videotape showing jailed local journalist Ernest Vardanean confessing to spying for Moldova.

Vardanean, 33, was arrested on April 7 on espionage and high treason charges.

Transdniester -- which declared independence from Moldova in 1990 and fought a brief war with Moldovan forces two years later -- is not recognized internationally but has de facto independence.