SIS former director Vasile Botnari risks years in jail for deporting Turkish teachers

The former director of the Information and Security Service (SIS) will go to trial for service abuse. The Chisinau prosecutor's office has finalized the criminal prosecution.

Seven Turkish teachers, five of whom applied to the European Court of Human Rights, were expelled from Moldova accused of terrorism-related activities in a joint operation by the Turkish and Moldovan intelligence agencies in September 2018.

Then, two former SIS deputy directors along with the director of the Bureau of Migration and Asylum (BMA), were arrested and charged with this case.

During the criminal prosecution, however, the prosecutors established that the deportation was executed by the SIS while the BMA was not informed. SIS took over the procedure without a written request by the BMA or a collaboration agreement in this regard. 

The BMA is the only competent institution to organize and carry out the necessary activities in order to deport foreigners from the territory of Moldova.

Thus, the entire operation was arranged, coordinated and directed directly by the accused, who, at that time, held the position of SIS director. The deputies executed the orders and provisions, without knowing that they are illegal.

The order of the prosecutor two weeks ago said that the former SIS deputy director and the BMA director escaped the prosecution. The SIS former director was deferred to justice.

The accused risks 6 years in prison and being deprived of the right to hold certain positions or to perform a certain activity for a term of 5 to 10 years.

According to ECHR, the applicants had been unlawfully deprived of their liberty and extradited to Turkey where they were in danger of imprisonment and the transfer of Turkish nationals to Turkey undermined domestic and international law, the ruling said.

The court ruled that the Republic of Moldova would pay 25,000 euros to each applicant.

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