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One Month After Ilan Shor’s Threats . The Prosecutor's Office Does Not Yet Know Whether This Was a "Hate Speech”

20 August 2018
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It's been exactly a month since Ilan Shor, the mayor of Orhei and the president of the “Shor” party, threatened journalists and some politicians with a video posted on July 20 on the official Facebook page on the day when his supporters organized a protest. Contacted by Media-azi.md, the prosecutor's office stated that this case is under review and the "legal solutions" for it have not yet been adopted.

In a letter, sent on July 31 (11 days after Shor threatened the journalists) by the General Prosecutor’s Office (PO) to the Chisinau Municipality Prosecutor’s Office, it is stated that this institution has to inform non-governmental organizations, which have requested the investigation of Shor’s declarations as “hate speech”, about the investigation and the outcomes of the case assessment, which is “a criminal case”.  

Asked by media-azi.md at what stage finds itself the case examination process, Vitalie Sibov, deputy prosecutor of Chisinau municipality, stated that a “legal solution” is yet to be adopted.  “The case is being examined.... This is all I can tell you. When we will have the procedural solutions, we will provide more details. The case is under investigation”, stated Sibov, who, to avoid “affecting the investigation”, refused to tell us if Ilan Shor was or not heard by the prosecutors of this case.

Previously, several human rights organisations showed their solidarity with media organisations which condemned the threatening statements Ilan Sor made against journalists. Representatives of human rights NGOs urge the General PO to investigate the statements of Ilan Shor as instigating hatred. The declaration was signed by Amnesty International Moldova, Legal Resources Centre from Moldova, the Information Centre GENDERDOC-M, Promo-LEX and RCTV Memoria.

In the General PO’s letter to the Prosecutor's Office of Chisinau municipality it is stated: "We are delivering for examination as part of the criminal prosecution, the collective address of non-governmental organizations on the alleged intimidation actions of the media and the political opponents, in the context of the statements made by the mayor of Orhei Ilan Shor. About the outcomes of the examination and the measures taken - to inform the petitioners by the deadline set by the law ". The letter is signed by the GP deputy, Iurii Garaba.

For information purposes, the letter is addressed to Amnesty International and to the “other petitioners”.

Igor Stoica, the coordinator of the program "Professionals for Human Rights" from Amnesty International Moldova, explained to Media-azi.md that the organization received last week the response of the General Prosecutor's Office regarding the call of the NGOs to the law enforcement bodies related to Shor’s hate speech. According to Stoica, “Chisinau municipality PO has to provide within a month a response to the General Prosecutor’s Office and to the signatories of the public call, where it should indicate if it has found elements of the hate speech crime, instigation to violence or not.  If so - is it a contravention or a crime? Was a fine applied or not? This is the job of the prosecutors. We are waiting”, said Igor Stoica.

He also specified that the Prosecutor's Office should start examining the case from the date of the intimation.

In the video footage published on 20 July, on the day of the protest organized by Ilan Shor, the latter claims that, once he will come to power, he will, eventually, apply a lustration law related to inconvenient journalists (whom he vaguely defines as ‘paid to write nasty things about people’).

Media non-governmental organisations voiced their concern about the threatening statements against journalists of Ilan Sor, party leader and mayor of Orhei, and reminded that the threats and ultimatum-like tone towards journalists could be regarded as an attempt to impose censorship in the media.