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Wife Of Jailed Transdniester Journalist Complains Of International 'Indifference'

Journalist Ernest Vardanean
Journalist Ernest Vardanean
CHISINAU -- The wife of an independent journalist jailed in Moldova's separatist Transdniester region has told RFE/RL's Moldovan Service that the international community has become indifferent to the fate of her husband.

Ernest Vardanean was arrested last month in his hometown, Tiraspol, on charges of spying for Moldova, and is awaiting trial on charges of high treason. If found guilty, he could face up to 20 years in prison.

On May 11, Transdniester's official television channel showed Vardanean confessing to having spied for the Moldovan secret service, but his family and friends said he was probably forced to make the statement.

Moldova's authorities, the United States, the European Union, and various human rights organizations have called for Vardanean's release.

But Vardanean's wife Irina told RFE/RL by phone from Tiraspol on May 27 that lately nobody seems to be interested in her husband's fate.

She said she had written dozens of letters, including one to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev -- who is believed to have huge influence over the leaders of Transdniester -- but has received no response.

The Moldovan lawyers who had offered to help her, she said, have stopped taking her calls.

Irina Vardanean told RFE/RL she will ask Transdniester's self-styled president, Igor Smirnov, to pardon her husband because "the rest of the world has forgotten us."