Image by Babu
10 August -Protest against corruption, Bucharest 2018, Victory Square
It’s always the socialists.
I mean the ones who want to weaken the fight against corruption, as they are doing right now in Romania. This has caused hundreds of thousands of Romanians to hit the streets, demanding the government’s resignation over the attempted rewrite of judicial codes, seemingly meant to reduce the chances of certain corrupt officials serving jail time.
The protests have been going on for a year and a half. In the recent demonstrations in August, Romanian citizens from all over the world flew in to fight the proposed changes by once again taking to the streets in massive numbers.
Obviously, the fight against corruption in Romania is nowhere near being finished, which highlights the role of the anti-corruption agency, the DNA, and its rock star leader Laura Kovesi. Romania remains under special supervision by means of an EU cooperation and verification mechanism (CVM), but is the former communist country respecting the European Union’s values on the rule-of-law and transparency when prosecuting these crimes? Evidence shows it may not be.
Brussels Express reported this week that “the DNA has been under domestic scrutiny since its former head, Ms. Kovesi, was heard on tape in 2017 commanding employees to pursue investigations against the Prime Minister and his colleagues and using the phrase ‘put pressure’ with reference to the government in retaliation for their moves to curtail her authority. This was followed by revelations that two senior DNA prosecutors had in 2015 forced a witness to fabricate evidence against media owner and former MP Sebastian Gita, with the witness being told his family would be targeted unless he cooperated.”
There are also concerns about the role of the Romanian security services and their relationship to anti-corruption officials, with some critics charging constitutional protections are being evaded with secret protocols established between the DNA and certain agencies.
We have written before about prison conditions in Romania, where the situation is dire. Euroreporter wrote recently:
Prison conditions are also a major concern in Romania, with the Due Process report highlighting the 104 violations found in Romania by the European Court of Human Rights for inhuman or degrading treatment, the vast majority of which occurred in detention. The European Court of Human Rights has consistently found that Romanian prisons are overcrowded, with space far below the legally required minimum per person. The report says: “In Romania, case after case has brought disgusting prison conditions to light; with infestations of bed bugs and vermin, inadequate washing facilities for prisoners, and cold, damp, dirty cells being the norm.”
Perhaps nothing illustrates human rights violations in Romania better than the case of Dan Adamescu, who died in prison in 2017 serving his sentence for alleged bribery in connection with a failed business. Advocates for human rights in Romania allege the case was really about hitting back at a political opponent, who dared criticize the regime via the newspaper he owned. Adamescu was twice denied parole while in very poor health.
Unfortunately, the saga continues.
We have previously written about the case of Adamescu’s son, Alexander, who now sits in a British jail, awaiting an extradition hearing to comply with a European Arrest Warrant (EAW) issued by the Romanian government.
We wrote at the time in this column that Dan Adamescu did not get a fair trial in Romania and paid for it with his life. There is no expectation that Alexander will be treated fairly. His attorneys are asking the British court to check to see if the Romanian government follows and meets the main tenants of the international Human Rights Conventions. Alexander’s counsel believes Romania does not.
Adamescu is now two months away from possibly being sent back to Romania to face the same prison conditions where his father died. His final extradition hearing before the UK high court is approaching.
An expert witness before the court in the Adamescu extradition case stated the following, “Following analysis of the material set out above, it is our opinion that the prosecutions of Dan and Alexander Adamescu bear all the hallmarks of a politically-motivated campaign using the criminal law, started by the Victor Ponta government, and of a kind of ‘lawfare’ pursued by the former Prime Minister against many other of his opponents.”
The Romanian Government’s cancellation of the extradition request of the United Kingdom would be the correct amnesty for Alexander in light of the fact that his father died for terrible judicial overreach by the socialist government in Romania.
The Trump administration should urge the Romanian government to cancel the European Arrest Warrant against Alexander, an innocent man. This will at least begin to make up for his father’s wrongful, politically motivated jailing, which led to his death.
Originally posted at The Washington Times