On October 20, the Chisinau Court rejected the claim filed by Ilan Sor, in which he accused RISE Moldova of defamation. The politician is dissatisfied with the journalists’ investigation which revealed his involvement in a drug trafficking network.
“The lawsuit filed by Ilan Sor against the Public Association, the Association of Investigative Reporters and Editorial Security of Moldova (RISE Moldova) on considering the published information defamatory, with the obligation to confute the information, has been rejected as ungrounded,” according to the dispositive part of the decision issued by the magistrate Dan Sirbu in Chisinau Court, Centru Sector Branch. The decision of the court of original jurisdiction can be appealed against at Chisinau Court of Appeal within 30 days.
The case concerns the investigation titled “The Soviet Union of Cocaine – CASTA” published in July 2021, which revealed Ilan Sor’s involvement in a cocaine trafficking network in Colombia. The material was based on a number of documents, including an official note classified as a state secret. The officers who were investigating the cocaine network in 2010 affirmed that “citizen Sor Ilan Miron turned out to be a member of this group (…).”
In the investigation, RISE also refers to the Operative Service Department (OSD) of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Moldova, according to which, “Ilan Sor was suspected of involvement in the organization’s economic infrastructure via a carousel of companies he managed.” “Currently, the criminal group the person concerned (Sor – editor’s note) is a member of keeps making every effort to establish new, more conspiratorial methods of trafficking drugs by other routes and involving the other co-participants (…),” RISE wrote referring to the “operative file of the suspect Sor compiled in 2010 by officer Timur Cislari.”
A month before the investigation was published the RISE journalists posted a teaser announcing this material on social media. Immediately, on June 14, 2021, Sor’s lawyers sued the journalists for defamation.
The Independent Journalism Center (IJC) provided legal assistance to RISE Moldova. Cristina Durnea, the IJC representative who assisted the case in court, mentions for the Media Azi portal that “the solution offered by the court of original jurisdiction is a natural result of the correct application of the legislation.” According to the IJC lawyer, the case of Ilan Sor v. RISE Moldova was a specific and complex one due to the fact that the journalists had documented their investigation on the basis of the documents classified as state secrets. “Anticipating that this issue would be contested, all we have to do is prepare for the next stage of the appeal,” the lawyer added.