“Sentenced” to Freedom

In Moldova persons sentenced for serious crimes to tens of years of prison can buy their freedom with the help of lawyers who have influence on the judges and prosecutors. The journalists Victor Mosneag, Tatiana Etco and Nicolae Cuschevici revealed how the system functions .

In the past 3 years, about 60% of convicts were released before term using various methods, legal or illegal. The redemption of one year of prison costs in Moldova about 1000 Euros. The journalists contacted a lawyer who is dealing with the release of convicts before term, requesting his help in releasing a person sentenced for murder. The lawyer promised that he could reach an understanding with the judge and with the prison’s staff in order to release a convict before term; however it would be easiest to do so if the convict had served at least half of his term.

The journalists investigated the cases of the persons illegally pardoned by the President of Moldova and illegally released. For example, on 4 July 2011 Marian Lupu, the Moldovan president ad interim at that time, pardoned Larisa Focsa, an well-known rogue sentenced to 13.6 years of prison by an irrevocable judgment on 5 July 2011, i.e. a day before the pardoning order.

The series was published by the newspaper Ziarul de Garda.

Read the original story (in Romanian) Part 1 (published May 24, 2012), Part 2 (published May 31, 2012), Part 3 (published June 7, 2012) and Part 4 (published June 14, 2012)

Read the English translation