133,196 of 150,000 signatures

To the European Commission

Appeal

After the killing of Liviu Pop, we demand that you prompt Romanian authorities to make sure that prosecutors investigating the case are independent. The criminal investigation must be moved to the prosecutor's office at the Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice in Bucharest.

Why is this important?

Last week, Liviu Pop, a forest ranger looking into the illegal logging in Romania’s forests, was found shot with his own gun next to a logging site. [1]

The investigation of Liviu Pop’s death is in the hands of the prosecutors from Maramures County, where the incident took place, who advance the hypothesis that the forest ranger shot himself by mistake. The main suspects were released uncharged. One of them is the nephew of the chief prosecutor in a nearby city. He is a millionaire and works for a company involved in scandals regarding illegal logging. This raises very serious suspicions about the impartiality of the investigation.

Liviu Pop is another ranger who became, in the past month, a victim of criminal groups acting in the Romanian forests.In the last few years, more than 600 rangers have been attacked, and 6 have died. [2]

These figures show the tragic extent of a phenomenon that is out of the control of the Romanian and local authorities. The lives of those who guard the forest are permanently in danger. The investigations that follow these acts of violence are superficial and protect the criminals.

Liviu Pop was father of three children. He was found shot and his body thrown into a ravine. Information about this case given to the press by the prosecutors is ridiculous. The suspects were let free although they acknowledged that they had been involved in an altercation with Liviu Pop, that they had fled the scene of the incident, and that they had left the ranger in agony in the middle of a forest. In spite of this, the prosecutors claim that it is possible that Liviu Pop shot himself by mistake.

We cannot help but wonder why the investigators lean towards the suspects' version of events. Several press articles pointed out that one of the three interrogated men is a local millionaire, nephew of the chief prosecutor of the nearby city Târgu Lăpuș, and cousin of a well-known lawyer from Baia Mare, another town in the area. This tangle of relationships and conflicting interests must affect the impartiality of local investigators. [3]

It is crucial to put pressure on the authorities before the outrage created by this tragic death fades. The investigation must be conducted by impartial prosecutors.


References:

  1. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-50094830
  2. https://facem.declic.ro/campaigns/Ucigasii-padurarului-scapa-semneaza-petitia
  3. https://www.romania-insider.com/romania-ranger-murder-accident-lumber-mafia

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