Romania push to charge communist era prison boss with murder
It is estimated Romania had 617,000 political prisoners and that 120,000 died in the communist gulags
Romania's main organisation for the investigation of crimes committed by the previous communist regime has called on state prosecutors to bring charges of aggravated murder against the former commandant of the country's most notorious communist-era prison.
The Romanian Institute for Investigating the Crimes of Communism said that during his time -- 1956-1963 -- as chief of the Ramnicu Sarat prison, Alexandru Visinescu, now 88, beat, starved or otherwise murdered five individuals including a former diplomat and a former political party head.
The Ramnicu Sarat prison was used to hold politicians, intellectuals and other members of the country's pre-communist elite.
Despite suffering the bloodiest revolution of all among the countries that liberated themselves from communism in 1989, Romania has only this year begun to prosecute communists and their collaborators.
Romanian media widely quote figures of 617,000 political prisoners during the communist era and 120,000 political killings.
Visinescu denies the allegations made against him and says that as head of the prison he simply had a job to do. He claims that he ran a humane system.
However, the document given to the prosecutor lists evidence of beatings, torture, starvation, solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, and murder, under his watch and with his direct involvement.
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