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Moldova: Criminal charges against human rights lawyer Ms Anna Aladova
Human rights lawyer Ms Anna Aladova was notified on 15 August 2012 that her case had been received by the Supreme Court of Justice of the Republic of Moldova, which must now determine which is the competent judicial authority to consider the criminal charges against her.
Earlier this year, all of the judges in Komrat, her native city, declared themselves incompetent to hear the case due to the fact that Anna Aladova used to work in the local courthouse as a secretary and was thus personally acquainted with the judges.
Anna Aladova is a lawyer who works for the Regional Bureau of the National Legal Aid Council (NLAC). She represents victims of human rights violations, and she has represented clients in the European Court of Human Rights on several occasions.
On 23 January 2012, a regional Deputy Attorney in Komrat, in the Gagauzia region, Mr V V Chimpoesh, filed a criminal complaint against Anna Aladova. She was accused of fraud for allegedly misinforming the NLAC Regional Bureau regarding the services she had been providing as a lawyer. According to the Deputy Attorney, Anna Aladova was reporting to the Bureau that she was providing legal services which she had not been providing. Were these allegations true, she would have been receiving remuneration for the services illegally. This would constitute a criminal offense.
Having heard of the Deputy Attorney's intention to file a case against her, on 20 January 2012, Anna Aladova visited his office, and in a private conversation which she secretly recorded, he alluded to the fact she was being targeted for reasons other than those which he had stated in the criminal complaint, and he told her several times that she “talks too much”.
Two weeks earlier, on 4 January 2012, Anna Aladova was threatened by the police officer Mr N A Tomajly, who aggressively confronted her, shouting that she talked too much and threatening to open a criminal case against her. Several weeks prior to this event, Anna Aladova filed a complaint regarding the refusal by the police to disclose the whereabouts of one of her clients who had been transferred from a prison to an unknown location. According to the human rights defender, this complaint was the reason for the threats.
On 14 February 2012, Anna Aladova filed a complaint to the General Prosecutor's Office, in which she claimed she was being harassed and illegally persecuted. In the complaint, the human rights defender demanded that the criminal procedures against her be suspended and that measures be taken against those behind the persecution. She subsequently received a response stating that there was no evidence that she was being persecuted due to her professional activities and, therefore, her complaint was rejected.
According to the Regulations for the Payment for Lawyers' Service of the National Legal Aid Council, specifically articles 11-13 of the Regulations, lawyers are obliged to submit a report on the services they provide, and the Regional Bureau of the Council then implements a verification procedure regarding such reports. The lawyer receive payment only upon the verification of the report. For this reason, Anna Aladova claims that she could not possibly have falsified these reports and thus received payment for non-existing services.
Front Line Defenders condemns the bringing of criminal charges against Anna Aladova, and believes that they are motivated by her legitimate activities in defense of human rights.