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News 21 Oct 15

Romanian Ex-President Charged Over Protesters' Deaths

Ion Iliescu, Romania’s first post-communist president, is facing charges of crimes against humanity over the violent suppression of protests in 1990, which lead to a several deaths.

Marian Chiriac
BIRN
Bucharest
Former Romanian president Ion Iliescu | Photo: Facebook.

A Romanian court on Wednesday announced a criminal prosecution against former president Ion Iliescu for alleged crimes against humanity over the violent suppression of protests in 1990.

Iliescu was allegedly involved in the violent suppression of an opposition movement that organised protests in Bucharest for several weeks in mid-1990.

The court said Iliescu was being prosecuted over the deaths of three people and the injury of four.

Iliescu refused to answer questions from journalists as he left the prosecutors' office where he had spent an hour. He previously denied any wrongdoing.

Virgil Magureanu, Romania's then-intelligence chief, was also investigated about his role in the incidents.

In June 1990, thousands of coal miners and police in broke up an anti-government protest in Bucharest, beating up thousands of people. Four people died and hundreds more were wounded, three of them with gunfire. Afterward, Iliescu thanked the miners for their actions.

Pprosecutors opened an investigation into the incidents in March, after the European Court of Human Rights had criticised Bucharest for failing to properly probe the violence.

Iliescu was in 2005 charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with the protests but the charges were dropped in 2007.

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