Journalist arrested for not revealing source of classified document leak

New York, February 17, 2006—A Romanian court today remanded journalist Marian Garleanu of newspaper Romania Libera to 10 days in custody for possessing classified military documents about Western troops in Afghanistan and Iraq which he did not publish. Garleanu was arrested Thursday in the eastern city of Focsani as part of a broader investigation of a former Romanian soldier who leaked classified documents to several newspapers, The Associated Press reported. He has not been charged.

“About a week ago we reported that we had these documents and would not publish them and that there was a leak in the Defense Ministry,” Romania Libera editor-in-chief Bogdan Ficeac told CPJ. “This is a very strange situation for us because the Defense Ministry thanked us for not publishing the information but the prosecutors arrested our colleague…for not handing the documents over or naming his source.”

Last week, authorities arrested former soldier Ionel Popa for leaking classified documents about radio frequencies and observation posts used by Western forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to local and international press reports.

Defense Minister Teodor Atanasiu said the classified information was two years old and “doesn’t threaten our forces…but it is very serious that something like this was leaked,” The Associated Press reported.