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Moldavia: sequestration of personal computers of 12 young people for posting critical comments online

Categories: Moldova

On June 4th, 2008, the Râşcani District Court from the Moldavian capital of Kishinev has ordered the sequestration of personal computers of about 12 young people who expressed critical opinions against the ruling communist party of the Republic of Moldavia on Internet forums and news portals such as forum.md [1], torrentsmd.com [2], desteptarea.info [3] and unimedia.md [4].

According to Curaj.Net [5]. these young people can be charged for making illegal public “calls for the overthrow of the constitutional order” and threatening the “ statality [6] and territorial integrity of the Republic of Moldavia.”

“We believe that [a Moldavian] IT company gave the IP addresses of its users,” the executive Director of New Media Group [7], Dumitru Ciorici [8], told us when asked about how did the police find these young people. “Legally, they have no write to do this because it's freedom of expression and these actions are to intimidate the citizens. Now, the young people are very scared and don't want to talk.”

Global Voices Advocacy received a copy of a press release titled “The communist governance from Kishinev is censoring the INTERNET” issued on June 11, 2008 by the Moldavian New Media Group [7] and stating that:

on April 15, 2008 New Media Group received a demarche of the General Prosecutor of the Republic of Moldova, in the investigative case nr. 160, started on 15.01.2008, where UNIMEDIA is forced offering IP address of commentators from the news portal forum www.unimedia.md to the Security and Information Service of Moldova.

On April 21 2008, New Media Group responded officially to the Security and Information Service and General Prosecutor with a letter, which states that NMG does not have the IP addresses of commentators on this site www.unimedia.md for the period January 20 – 14 April 2008 because, in accordance with a previous decision of the Governing Board of NMG from January 22, 2008, the IP addresses of commentators are not stored more than 10 days. After this period they are automatically deleted from the database.

In this sense, New Media Group believes that the appreciation of the Court that the young people have place commentaries on UNIMEDIA is erroneous and lacks legal, since there is no evidence, which would submit the statement that from those IP addresses of these young people were published comments on UNIMEDIA. At the same time, we find that the conclusion of the Court affects the company's image and intimidates UNIMEDIA’s visitors.