Europe

Romanian labour camp chief Ficior jailed for Periprava crimes

Ion Ficior surrounded by journalists after he was charged in 2013 (file picture) Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ion Ficior had run a notorious labour camp in the remote east of Romania

A Romanian ex-prison commander has been jailed for 20 years for crimes against humanity at a communist-era jail where 103 political prisoners died.

The court in Bucharest heard how Ion Ficior, 87, had run an abusive regime from 1958-63, subjecting detainees to inhuman and repressive treatment.

Ficior denied the allegations and has 10 days to appeal.

Another communist-era prison commander was given 20 years last year for running "an extermination regime".

Alexandru Visinescu was convicted of crimes against humanity at the Ramnicu Sarat prison from 1956 to 1963, where inmates were tortured and starved.

Some 600,000 Romanians, including priests, teachers, doctors and peasants, were jailed between 1948 and 1964 as the communist authorities confined political prisoners in a series of labour camps and jails.

One in five inmates is thought to have died as a result of the brutal prison conditions, according to historians.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Ion Ficior was accused of beating detainees and depriving them of medical treatment

Ficior is the second prison chief to be sentenced since the death of communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu in 1989. He argued he had done nothing wrong and was following orders.

He was in charge of Periprava jail, where he was accused of beating political detainees, and subjecting them to treatment and living conditions likely to lead to death. One witness told the trial that Ficior had beaten a sick prisoner and left him to die in a field.

Ficior was charged after five skeletons were found at the camp in the Danube delta in eastern Romania.

The Romanian Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes (IICCMER), a government agency, said in 2013 that it had clear evidence that he had implemented "an extermination regime for political detainees".

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