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Moldovan Held In Transdniester For Spying Will Not Ask For Pardon

Stela Surchicean whose son, Ilie Cazac, is serving a jail sentence for spying in Moldova's breakaway Transdniester region.
CHISINAU -- The mother of a Moldovan man held in the breakaway Transdniester region for spying says she will not ask the separatist leadership to pardon her son, RFE/RL's Moldovan Service reports.

Stela Surchicean, the mother of Ilie Cazac, told RFE/RL in an interview on May 10 that she welcomes the release last week of journalist Ernest Vardanean, who was held for about one year on espionage charges.

Surchicean said Vardanean's unexpected release on May 5 was "good and encouraging news." But she added that asking Transdniester authorities for clemency would amount to admitting that her son is guilty, and she will not do it.

Cazac, a clerk from the town of Bender, and Vardanean, were arrested separately in the spring of 2010 and were later given sentences of 14 and 15 years in prison, respectively, for spying for Moldova's secret services.

While in custody, Vardanean admitted to spying in a videotape aired by Transdniester TV. His friends and relatives said the confession was coerced under pressure.

One of his relatives subsequently filed an official request for a pardon with the separatist authorities in Tiraspol.

Surchicean said she respects Vardanean's decision to ask for a pardon, but her son will not follow the same path. She said she has instead written to the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, and the United States, asking them to help get her son released.