Ernest Vardanean, a 33-year-old stringer for the Transdniester news agency Novy Region 2, is accused of spying for Moldova and could be sentenced to between 12 and 20 years in prison if found guilty. The Moldovan government, the U.S. Embassy in Chisinau, the European Union, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe have urged authorities in Tiraspol to release Vardanean from detention and to ensure he receives a fair trial. Numerous human rights and journalists’ associations, including Reporters Without Borders, have also condemned his arrest.
While a small group of Internet bloggers and human rights activists picketed the Russian Embassy in Yerevan today, a television channel in Moldova’s breakaway region of Transdniester has aired a video showing a jailed local journalist confessing to spying. Continue reading