MOLDOVA: Concern Over 'Disappeared' Church Activist.

Felix Corley, Keston News Service, 10 April 2002

Friends and supporters of Vlad Cubreacov, a politician and active layman in the Bessarabian Orthodox Church, have expressed growing concern about his fate in the wake of his disappearance in the Moldovan capital Chisinau late on 21 March. Cubreacov, a parliamentary deputy, vice-chairman of the right-of-centre Christian Democratic People's Party and a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, is one of seven members of the Church's diocesan council and represented the Church in its recent case at the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg (see separate KNS article). "I know him as a friend and he is a person of transparent integrity," John Warwick Montgomery, a British-based lawyer who represented the Bessarabian Church in Strasbourg, told Keston News Service on 9 April. "His disappearance is terrible." This concern was echoed by Cubreacov's bishop, Metropolitan Petru Paduraru. "We do not just fear for him," he told Keston by telephone from Chisinau on 10 April. "We think how it could have happened. We pray that the Lord would return him safe and sound."

Metropolitan Petru pointed out how difficult the disappearance has been for Cubreacov's wife Natalya and their daughter and son.

In a 23 March statement, Cubreacov's party described the disappearance as "extremely alarming" and pointed out that it came at a time of "political crisis" in Moldova. It blamed the Communist government, which took power after elections last year, for what it said was a "campaign of political repressions" against the Christian Democratic People's Party, of which it believed the disappearance was a part.

Metropolitan Petru said he did not know who had abducted Cubreacov. "It is difficult to say who took him - undoubtedly it was those who did not like what he did or said. We know nothing of who took him, why or where he is now." He believed that he was abducted not just because of his anti-government political activity, but his religious activity also. Montgomery believed that the Moldovan government might have been involved. "If it turns out that the regime was involved, it would be further confirmation of his opinion that the regime is totalitarian." The government has repeatedly denied that it was involved.

The Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe have already expressed their concern. Montgomery notified the European Court of Human Rights of Cubreacov's disappearance on 24 March. (END)