Monday, February 11, 2008

Human Rights: Religious persecution in Moldova

Moldova's secret police plays a key role in a coordinated campaign of harassment which is currently underway against religious minorities in Moldova. Priests complain of intrusive law enforcement interference and constant questions, insults and threats. But no similar visits have taken place in 'de facto' independent Transdniestria, where locals report higher religious freedom.

Investigative reporter Felix Corley from Norway's Forum 18 News Service has found that Moldova's expulsion of four priests and a nun is part of a campaign of harassment of the Bessarabian Orthodox Church. Also included in the harassment campaign is a series of church check-ups by both the Moldovan police and the country's intelligence agency, the so-called Information and Security Service (SIS).

The religious crackdown is not just restricted to the Bessarabian Orthodox faith. Orthodox parishes under the Moscow and Kiev Patriarchates have also faced harassment, and the harsh methods have been applied to a Jehovah's Witness congregation in Moldova as well. While authorities claim that police check-ups aimed to catch illegal immigrants, leaders of the religious communities state that officials were much more interested in the functioning of congregations.

Full article: Secret police harassment campaign underway against churches in Moldova published by The Tiraspol Times and Weekly Review