Home » In Romania the ghost of communism returns. The murder of Gheorghe Ursu: the two torturers of the Securitate acquitted

In Romania the ghost of communism returns. The murder of Gheorghe Ursu: the two torturers of the Securitate acquitted

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In Romania the ghost of communism returns.  The murder of Gheorghe Ursu: the two torturers of the Securitate acquitted

Nicolae Ceausescu (photo Lapresse)

In Romania the ghost of communism returns. The murder of Gheorghe Ursu: the two torturers of the Securitate acquitted

A sentence by the Supreme Court of Romania has made the entire public opinion indignant these days, also provoking international reactions. The High Court of Cassation and Justice, as it is, has recently ruled on the case of the dissident Gheorghe Ursu, the engineer tortured and killed by the Securitate now in the distant November of 1985, when he was under arrest. So let’s see who Gheorghe Ursu was and how the sensational sentence of 27 July 2023 was reached, according to which the torturers of him, Vasile Hodiș and Marin Pârvulescu, former Securitate officers, were acquitted.

A well-known Romanian dissident, intellectual and poet, Ursu was targeted by the Securitate a few months after the catastrophic earthquake of 1977, when Nicolae Ceaușescu had given the criminal order to stop the building consolidation works in the capital, Bucharest. In fact, these works inevitably had an impact on the aesthetic aspect of the city to the detriment of safety.

Following the order, Gheorghe Ursu continued to consolidate some buildings damaged by the cataclysm at his own expense, since they represented a real threat to the lives of the inhabitants. The possession of an intimate diary, in which he criticized the regime, which the Securitate became aware of through the denunciation of one of his colleagues, as well as the sending – again by the dissident – of protests on the abuses of the Ceaușescu regime to the Radio Europa Libera, led to his arrest in 1985. Gheorghe Ursu was arrested on 21 September and about two months later, on 17 November, his son, Andrei Ursu, was informed by the Securitate that his father was already deceased. Gheorghe Ursu’s file remained on the court table for well over 33 years, continually postponed or even blocked. All these legal obstacles, despite the evidence proving the guilt of the killers, led his son, Andrei Ursu, to twice publicly resort to hunger strike. Following these actions, the file only reached the High Court of Cassation and Justice in 2019. Since then, the decision has been postponed another 28 times.

The acquittal of the two Securitate torturers still continues to arouse vehement reactions in public opinion. The sentence has been equally criticized in recent days by politicians, representatives of civil society, historians and political scientists, who have demonstrated that the verdict issued defies the evidence, absolves the Securitate of its responsibility and of the crimes committed, offending the memory of all the victims of the communist regime.

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