[JURIST] A Romanian court sentenced former Senior Judge Stan Mustata to 10 years and eight months in prison on Friday for granting favorable verdicts to defendants in exchange for money. Mustata was convicted of six counts [AP report] of taking bribes from October 2013 until his arrest in April 2014. Mustata claims to have been inebriated when some of the exchanges took place. The Bucharest Appeals Court [official website, in Romanian], the same court on which Mustata once sat, also banned Mustata from the profession for five years, but he has the right to appeal. Another Romanian judge was sentenced to 22 years [JURIST report] in prison in February for several instances of taking bribes from wealthy Romanian businessman in exchange for ruling in their favor in court.
Romania is one of the most corrupt nations in the EU, ranking [TI profile] 69 out of the 177 nations globally according the watchdog group Transparency International [advocacy website]. In January 2014 the European Commission released [JURIST report] its semi-annual Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM) report on Romania, warning the nation to end political pressure on the judiciary amid continuing concerns over corruption. In September 2013 Romanian prosecutors charged [JURIST report] Communist-era prison commander Alexander Visinescu with genocide. Visinescu, the former chief of the Ramnicu Sarat prison under Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu [Telegraph profile] faces genocide charges for beating and starving political prisoners between 1956 and 1963, the height of Communist repression against dissidents. In January the Bucharest Appeals Court ruled [JURIST report] that a former Romanian defense ministry official can be extradited to the US on charges of trying to illegally export military equipment to Iran.