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Constantin Grigorita Emigrated to France. ‘I Don’t Want to Go to Jail on Fabricated Charges!’

17 April 2019
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The photojournalist Constantin Grigorita, who is also a member of the Association of Independent Press (API), announced on his Facebook page that he emigrated to France because he did not want to be jailed on ‘fabricated charges’. He decided to leave the Republic of Moldova following a conflict he had with the Border Police at Giurgiulesti Customs on 20 March 2019.

Grigorita announced his emigration on Facebook 

Constantin Grigorita explained why he chose to emigrate in a post on his Facebook page dated 12 April 2019. ‘I choose to emigrate because those from the Border Police started to terrorise me with letters and threats because I protested on the bridge at Giurgiulesti. (...) This happened because the car we were in is on the “no cross” border list because of the statement “George Simion for Great Romania in Europe!!” on it. I am sorry, but I can’t tolerate this, I don’t want to be another “PETIC” case and be jailed on some fabricated charges’.

Subsequently, the photojournalist attached to the post a letter the General Inspectorate of Border Police (GIBP) sent to him on 21 March 2019.  According to the letter, the SOUTH Regional Directorate of GIBP is currently examining ‘the material recorded in the Register of Other Criminal Information’ dated 20 March 2019, when the protest took place. In this regard, the signatory of the letter, the superior investigation officer of the Border Police Station Giurgiulesti – 2, Vladislav Budu, required Grigorita to show up at Giurgiulesti-Galati border crossing point on 2 April 2019 ‘to establish all the circumstances and collect all the evidence regarding the material in question’. The photojournalist was warned that his ‘presence was mandatory’ and that in case of an unexplained absence he could be subject to judicial fines or brought by force.

What did happen at Giurgiulesti Customs?

On 20 March, Constantin Grigorita, with a group of combatants of the war on the Nistru River was returning home from the Recovery Sanatorium Techirghiol, Romania. At Giurgiulesti Customs they learned that only the persons, but not the car they were in, could cross the border, because the vehicle was included in the ‘no cross’ border list , which means that the data about this means of transport is in the Integrated Border Police Information System and it is prohibited from entering the country.


The group of combatants. foto: Constantin Grigorita

Inspectors were not able to explain why they could not allow the vehicle to enter the country. (According to Grigorita, the car was not allowed to cross the border because of the inscription ‘George Simion for Great Romania in Europe!’ on it).
 

Video: Alina Panico

On the same day, Grigorita wrote on Facebook that he asked the Border Police to help them with a transport to bring the combatants home, especially since there were people with disabilities in the wheelchairs among them.
According to Grigorita, the representatives of the Border Police refused to offer them another means of transport.
 

Foto: Unimedia.info

Considering the situation, people who were left without transport began to protest. Alina Panico, the journalist who was with the combatants and managed to shoot some of the things that happened at customs wrote the following on her Facebook page: ‘In protest, we blocked the bridge over the Prut River, in the neutral zone. The tricolour minibus, banned from entering the RM again. Police on both sides of the border wait for new orders’.


 

After a two-hour protest, the combatants had to return to Romania, take the coach bus and return home. According to Unimedia.info the doctor Alexei Paluta offered them money for the ride.

The Border Police investigates the case

Contacted by Media Azi, the Press Officer the Border Police, Olesea Donos, told us that the body she represents took note regarding the statements of Constantin Grigorita and that the case was under investigation.


Giurgiulesti Border Police Station in March.

As regards the summon to show up at the Giurgiulesti Border Police Station, she stated that the officers wanted to investigate the circumstances of the protest organised by Constantin Grigorita together with other persons, and whether he did or did not violate the rules of border crossing.
Donos added that she did not know why the prohibition of border crossing for the car had been applied, and that the Police database contained no data about the reasons for prohibiting the transportation means from crossing the border.
Also, Olesea Donos claims that the inspectors allegedly proposed them another means of transport, but they did not accept it.
 
In his turn, the officer from the SOUTH Regional Directorate, Vladislav Budu, stated for Media Azi that ‘a material’ was being examined by the department. In his opinion, ‘their actions during that day, at the border crossing point, were not a crime. That is, they were rather a contravention. We must clarify the things until the end’. Vladislav Budu added that such summons were sent to eight people that were in the car.
According to Olesea Donos, none of the eight has shown up to the police yet, and most likely they would be summoned for the second time.
We remind that the photojournalist Constantin Girgorita is also known to have sued the President of the Republic of Moldova, Igor Dodon, and the Administration of the President of the Republic of Moldova in a case regarding the defence of right to access to information, which is still being examined by the court.
Two years ago, the journalist Ghenadie Brega announced that he asked for political asylum in Iceland because of the ‘reasonable suspicions that his freedom and even his life were in danger in the Republic of Moldova’.