ECtHR: Former Prime Minister Vladimir Filat’s Presumption of Innocence was Not Violated at the 2015 Parliamentary Session when His Parliamentary Immunity was Lifted
The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) made public on Tuesday, December 7, the decision in the case of former Prime Minister Vladimir Filat against Moldova. Thus, the ECHR found that former Prime Minister Vlad Filat’s presumption of innocence was not violated during the 2015 parliamentary session when his parliamentary immunity was lifted.
The ECHR ruled that Article 6 § 2 on the presumption of innocence in respect of statements made by officials at the time of the waiver of parliamentary immunity was not violated.
“The ECHR declares the complaint admissible under Article 6 § 2 of the Convention, in so far as it relates to the statements of State officials during the sitting of Parliament on 15 October 2015, and the remainder of the application is inadmissible. The ECHR rules: “There has been no violation of Article 6 § 2 of the Convention”, the Court’s decision states.
Vladimir Filat went to jail on October 15, 2015, and was sentenced to nine years of detention by the Chișinău Court in June 2016. The sentence became final by the decision of the Supreme Court of February 2017.
As Filat was investigated by the National Anticorruption Center and the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office, he was not taken to serve his sentence in the Lipcani Penitentiary, where convicts who previously held public office are detained. He remained in Chișinău, imprisoned in Penitentiary no. 13.
While serving his sentence, Filat appealed to the European Court of Human Rights, claiming the inhumane conditions of detention in Penitentiary no. 13, but also the violation of the right to liberty and security due to the lack of grounds for pre-trial detention during the trial of his case or the violation of the right to privacy.
The release of former Prime Minister Vladimir Filat from custody after serving four years, one month, and two weeks in the previous nine-year sentence has sparked a ping-pong of accusations between political parties in Chișinău. The Socialists blamed the Sandu Government, while the representatives of the former Government threw the responsibility towards “Dodon’s justice”. ZdG analyzed all the circumstances that led to the “conditional release before term” of the former politician, but also who are the people who participated in this process.
The decision by which Filat was released from prison was pronounced on the afternoon of December 3, 2019, by the investigating judge, Victor Rățoi. On October 15, 2015, the same judge applied for the first time an arrest warrant in Filat’s name. Rățoi has been a judge since 2011. He was previously a prosecutor. The magistrate issued a ruling on the “premature release” of the former prime minister after the second court hearing. The first meeting took place a day earlier, being interrupted, and on December 3, 2019, the decision was made. Filat was soon released.
Adriana Bețișor is the former prosecutor who investigated several loud cases, such as the billion-dollar bank fraud, but also the criminal case in which former Prime Minister Vladimir Filat was sentenced to 9 years in prison with execution, following a complaint filed by Ilan Shor.
On September 2, 2021, the General Prosecutor’s Office announced that Adriana Bețișor, the former deputy head of the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, is accused of large-scale passive corruption, abuse of office, and interference in the administration of justice. The Prosecutor’s Office for Combating Organized Crime and Special Cases has completed the criminal investigation into this case and sent the case to court.
According to the General Prosecutor’s Office, the criminal acts were allegedly committed in 2018, when Adriana Bețișor, acting as a prosecutor, allegedly demanded 50,000 euros from a convict. In exchange for this amount, the prosecutor was to reclassify his actions and withdraw his charges in the case then pending at the Chișinău Court of Appeal in which he had been sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted embezzlement and money laundering, both committed in particularly large proportions.