Former communist prison commander indicted in Romania for crimes against humanity

Former communist prison commander indicted in Romania for crimes against humanity

 

By Daniel Stroe – Bucharest

Ioan Ficior, former commander of the Periprava labor camp, has been today indicted for crimes against humanity in a file already sent to Bucharest’s Court of Appeals, prosecutors of the High Court of Justice announced.

Ficior, 86, has been under criminal investigation since October 2013 following a complaint lodged by the Institute for the Communism Crimes Investigation, which accused Ficior of leading a repressive, abusive and inhuman detention regime between 1958 and 1963 which finally led to the death of 103 persons, all of them members of the anti-communist community.

Detainees would be systematically deprived of medical care and food, while being punished and tortured in a discretionary manner, prosecutors showed. All the detention conditions were the sole responsibility of Ioan Ficior, who, according to then prison regulations, had the last word concerning “convicts’ lie”. “Death of political detainees came at the end of a slow, but effective process, during which they were physically and psychically tortured” prosecutors underlined.

They also showed detainees had been submitted to an inhuman treatment, completely isolated from families and external world, living in dire housing conditions, with scarce food and in low temperatures, deliberately starved and forced labor. “The imposed regime didn’t under any circumstances ensure any conditions for a long term survival, considering that sentences were at least ten years long” prosecutors also said. Sick detainees were deprived of medical care and, despite their conditions, were still submitted to forced labor, they added.

Medical records of that time show most of the deaths were caused by diseases, such pneumonia and tuberculosis, which developed amid dire detention conditions. In 1960, the largest number of deaths was recorded, 60, with the youngest dead being 19 and the oldest being 71. Prosecutors also showed that an internal report of the then prison administration highlighted the abusive tendency to punish detainees despite lesser gravity of actions and the “anarchical” conduct of the prison guards during Ficior’s term, disrespectful of the regulations in force.

All these official documents have been backed by testimonies of former detainees ho spoke of an extermination regime instituted by Ioan Ficior. “At Periprava, those imprisoned were mainly counter-revolutionaries, but also politicians, which determined the necessity to appoint an experienced and trustful prison chief with expertise in reeducation. Hence the extreme sternness of commander Ioan Ficior and the troubling results he hot over the extermination process he had set up” the prosecutors concluded.