President of the Republic of Moldova Igor Dodon declared that, according to the preliminary information he obtained from law enforcement bodies, most of 2018 interceptions and those of the first half of 2019 had been initiated by the Ministry of Internal Affairs. He added that in a week he would also have information on the exact number of telephones wiretapped during the last five years. ‘If we are to talk about the number of wiretaps, it reached 10,000 thousand in 2018 and 3,300 thousand in 2019’, Dodon said. According to his statements, this year SIS made 200 interceptions out of the total 3,300, and last year – 600 out of 10,000. In some cases, one and the same telephone number was wiretapped several times.
Igor Dodon added that he wanted to get information on people who initiated such wiretaps and why they resorted to wiretapping. He believes that the number of wiretaps grows as the election campaign gets closer.
Previously, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for National Security, Defense and Public Order, Chiril Motpan qualified the assumption that Security and Intelligence Service (SIS) and MIA stood behind the wiretapping of protesters, journalists and civic activists during 2017, 2018 and 2019 as plausible. He also stated that between 2015-2016 civic activists and journalists were wiretapped by the subdivisions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA), known as Divisions 5 and 7.
SIS rejected the statements made in the public space about the alleged institution’s involvement in wiretapping. The same did Alexandru Jizdan, former Minister of Internal Affairs and Gheorghe Cavcaliuc, Deputy Head of the General Police Inspectorate.
We remind that Chiril Motpan, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for National Security, Defense and Public Order, stated on 22 November, during a press conference at the Parliament that the telephones of several journalists and representatives of civil society in the Republic of Moldova would have been wiretapped by the representatives of the law enforcement bodies or by paramilitary structures.
The MP provided to the press a list of individuals who were wiretapped: Nadine Gogu, Executive Director of the Independent Journalism Center, Petru Macovei, Executive Director of the Association of Independent Press, Cornelia Cozonac, Director of the Center for Investigative Journalism, Alina Radu, Director of Ziarul de Garda, journalists from TV 8, Natalia Morari, Mariana Rata and Angela Gonta; journalists form Jurnal TV, Anatolie Durbala, Constantin Cheianu, Vasile Nastase (now MP), Val Butnaru, Vladimir Berghii, Alina Cujba; journalists Ion Preascade from RISE Moldova and Valentina Ursu from Free Europe, Tudor Darie, founder of the portal Agora.md and others.
In this context, the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office announced about the conduct of the criminal prosecution on the ground of illegal collection of the information protected by the law (personal life – representing personal and family secret) without the individual’s consent, using the special technical means intended for hidden possession of information, as well as violating the right to secrecy of telephone calls, violating the law and using the job position.
The Prosecutor’s Office claims that the criminal prosecution was started at the beginning of September 2019 by the Interim Prosecutor General in three criminal cases, which were transmitted to the Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office for further criminal prosecution. The three cases were subsequently merged into a single procedure. The criminal prosecution suspected four investigation officers, including a head of subdivision of the National Inspectorate of Investigation of the GPI and three prosecutors.
Note that RISE Moldova previously wrote in the article ‘The Ministry of Wiretapping’ that the authorities conducted a campaign during which it wiretapped and stalked the opponents of the democratic government under the guise of certain criminal cases filed on the basis of messages posted on Facebook or statements made during the press conferences. According to RISE, 52 people, including politicians, representatives of civil society and journalists, were under the prosecutors and policemen’ spotlight. Besides wiretapping the phone calls, the private life of certain individuals was monitored through microphones and video cameras that were set up in their homes.