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Moldovan President Urges Amnesty for Detained Protestors

Moldovan President Vladimir Voronin has urged authorities to declare an amnesty for those detained during post-election protests earlier this month.

In a televised address, the Moldovan leader said the amnesty should apply to all detainees except repeat offenders and those involved in criminal activity.

Mr. Voronin issued his call as election officials in Moldova were recounting votes from the April fifth parliamentary vote. Opposition parties, however, say they are boycotting the recount.

Violent protests by opposition supporters left two dead, scores injured and 200 arrests.

Meanwhile, the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe says it has verified that authorities had abused some of the demonstrators and requested access to Moldovan detention facilities. The report mentioned restrictions on journalists and beatings of detainees.

Official results from the first vote count showed Mr. Voronin's Communist Party winning about 50 percent of the vote, giving it 60 seats in the 101-member parliament -- one short of the number needed to ensure that parliament elects their candidate as the next president.

Leaders of the three main opposition parties, Our Moldova, the Liberal Party and the Liberal Democratic Party, called the recount a sham, designed to cover up election violations and to ensure the continuation of Communist Party rule.

The opposition said voter lists for the polls contained the names of underage or dead voters, and citizens who have lived abroad for many years.

In another development, Ukrainian prosecutors have agreed to extradite two Moldovans, Gabriel Stati and Aurel Marinescu, authorities in Chisinau accuse of having organized last week's protests.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.