Transdnestrian 'spy' journalist pleads for mercy
TIRASPOL, December 25 (RIA Novosti) - A Transdnestrian journalist convicted of espionage for Moldova has asked the president of the Moldovan breakaway republic for mercy, a local news agency said on Saturday.
Ernest Vardanyan was arrested on April 7 and accused of state treason by the republic's authorities. The journalist, who later admitted his guilt, was given a 15-year-old prison sentence last week.
The journalist said he was recruited by the Moldavian secret services while he was student of a Chisinau university in 2001. He said he kept on spying for Moldova after graduating from university and finding work as a journalist in his homeland.
"Dear Igor! I ask you to believe that I am sincere in my repentance and in a gesture of humanity to pardon me, giving me a chance to return to normal life for the good of my family and in the interest of the Republic of Transdnestr," Vardanyan said in his letter.
"I will do my best to make good a damage caused by my actions. I am sure that I will better succeed in doing this in freedom rather than in prison," Olvia press quoted him as saying.
The Russian-speaking province of Transdnestr has maintained de facto independence from Moldova since a brief war in 1992, which erupted from a buildup of tensions following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Tiraspol insists on independence, and even integration with Russia, while Chisinau says it is willing only to give Transdnestr autonomy within Moldova.
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