Romania’s High Court of Cassation and Justice [official website] on Wednesday upheld the 20-year prison sentence of Ion Ficior for crimes against humanity. Ficior was the commander of the Periprava labor camp from 1958 to 1963, during which approximately 103 political prisoners died. During his trial, former detainees accused him of beatings, providing limited access to food and medicine, overworking them, and having unheated cells. Ficior denies any wrongdoing and states he was merely following orders. The court also upheld [WP report] the ruling mandating Ficior, the interior ministry, the finance ministry, and the National Penitentiary Administration pay USD $335,000 in damages to eight former political prisoners and their families.
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], faced genocide charges for beating and starving political prisoners between 1956 and 1963, the height of Communist repression against dissidents. In February 2016 the High Court of Cassation and Justice of Romania upheld [JURIST report] Visinescu’s 20-year sentence for crimes against humanity. This conviction was a landmark case for Romania, a country that has struggled with prosecuting communist crimes.