Ex prison guard charged with genocide - KALB-TV News Channel 5 & CBS 2

Ex prison guard charged with genocide

Posted: Updated:
Photo Credit: MGNOnline.com Photo Credit: MGNOnline.com

By ALISON MUTLER
Associated Press

BUCHAREST, Romania (AP) - Romanian prosecutors on Tuesday charged the commander of a Communist-era prison with genocide, the first Romanian to face the charge since leader Nicolae Ceausescu was tried and executed in 1989.

Alexandru Visinescu, 87, appeared before prosecutors to be presented with the charges. Between 1956 and 1963, he ran the Ramnicu Sarat prison where the pre-Communist elite and intellectuals were incarcerated.

Visinescu declined to comment as he was led to a taxi. He has said he was only following orders.

Prosecutors said in a statement that under his command prisoners were subjected to beatings, hunger, a lack of medical treatment and exposure to cold. Visinescu could face life in prison if convicted.

The last Romanian to be charged with genocide was Ceausescu. He was quickly tried by a special military tribunal and executed on Dec. 25, 1989, after he fled Bucharest in the face of growing anti-government demonstrations.

In July, the institute investigating communist crimes wrote to the general prosecutors calling for Visinescu to be prosecuted for six deaths. It says it will give a total of 35 files about former commanders to prosecutors.

The institute said it "welcomed the historic decision" and urged the prosecution "to continue to concentrate its efforts on identifying those responsible for crimes and political abuses in the communist period."

In August, Visinescu cursed a cameraman and lunged several times at journalists who were seeking reaction to the accusations against him. Since then, there has been public debate about the era, with many people speaking in favor of moves to punish former prison commanders.

President Traian Basescu and Prime Minister Victor Ponta have both said that former commanders should face justice for crimes they may have committed.

About 500,000 Romanians, priests, teachers, peasants, doctors and diplomats were condemned as political prisoners in the 1950s as the Communist government sought to crush all dissent. One-fifth of those who were imprisoned died due to the harsh conditions, historians say.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Search warrant leads to two arrests in Grant Parish

    Search warrant leads to two arrests in Grant Parish

    Friday, July 25 2014 11:11 AM EDT2014-07-25 15:11:49 GMT
    GRANT PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -The Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted a search warrant on July 23, 2014 on Charlie Coleman Road north of Pollock which resulted in the arrest of two people.More >>
    GRANT PARISH, La. (KALB News Channel 5) -The Grant Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted a search warrant on July 23, 2014 on Charlie Coleman Road north of Pollock which resulted in the arrest of two people.More >>
  • Teen gets 232 "teeth" removed in Mumbai

    Teen gets 232 "teeth" removed in Mumbai

    Friday, July 25 2014 11:51 AM EDT2014-07-25 15:51:28 GMT
    (CNN) -- A teenager in India, who had more than 200 "teeth" growing in his mouth due to a benign dental tumor, has had them removed.More >>
    (CNN) -- A teenager in India, who had more than 200 "teeth" growing in his mouth due to a benign dental tumor, has had them removed.More >>
  • Unrestrained Pineville man killed in crash

    Unrestrained Pineville man killed in crash

    Friday, July 25 2014 11:04 AM EDT2014-07-25 15:04:53 GMT
    PINEVILLE, La. (KALB News Channel 5) – Early this morning, a single vehicle crash killed a man from Pineville, LA that was not wearing a seatbelt.Troopers responded to the crash around 1:12 a.m., which occurred on LA Hwy 1 north of the Poland community. More >>
    PINEVILLE, La. (KALB News Channel 5) – Early this morning, a single vehicle crash killed a man from Pineville, LA that was not wearing a seatbelt.Troopers responded to the crash around 1:12 a.m., which occurred on LA Hwy 1 north of the Poland community. More >>
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KALB. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.