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Draft: No more scientific works written in jail to cut inmates' prison time

Draft: No more scientific works written in jail to cut inmates’ prison time

Justice minister Raluca Prună informed in the Superior Council of Magistracy’s meeting on Thursday that the article allowing convicts who write scientific papers to have their jail time shortened would be recalled. A draft emergency ordinance that would amend the law 254/2013 is to be filed on Friday and is expected to be adopted in the Government sitting next week.

“I’ll keep on going on recall (…) I will post the emergency ordinance on the ministry’s website, it will be there during the weekend for consultation (…) My argument will be related to discrimination, but also to the comparative law. It’s discriminating to reward intellectual work more than the physical one. Moreover, there is no such directive in other EU country,” minister Prună argued.

She commented that “figures are justifying the amendment’s emergency”, as the ongoing works are on an exponential rise.

“There were 45 such works under way on December 31, according to the data provided by the National Administration of Penitentiaries, while there were over 100 of them reported on January 6. Now, we lost track of the exact figure,” the minister said.

However, some CSM members opined that the legal stipulations’ abrogation could do more harm, suggesting that the repeal is not the best solution but the tightening of the conditions when an inmate could benefit of this provision.

George Copos’ plagiarism

Meanwhile, more and more signals come to confirm that some of the famous convicts imprisoned in Romanian penitentiaries who wrote such books or scientific works to cut their jail time were not actually writing these works for real.

The Ethics committee of the Bucharest University reviewing one of the books written by businessman George Copos, “Marital alliances in the politics of the Romanian rulers in Tara Romaneasca and Moldavia in the 14th -16th centuries”, said on Thursday that the work is ‘a type of plagiarism, made through disguised copying and recounting.”

“It’s not a classical copy-paste issue, but we are talking about a professional author, who made a lot of unacceptable paraphrasing from academician Catalin Parfene’s dissertation thesis,” the president of the university ethics committee, Marian Popescu said.

He explained that George Copos couldn’t have made this type of work and thus, he couldn’t be credited as author, arguing that the businessman had no antecedents in writing scientific works, had no study conditions in prison, while his documentation ends in 2005, the year when Parfene took his dissertation.

According to Popescu, the type of plagiarism met in Copos’ work is generically called a “mosaic-like plagiarism.”

On March 4, 2014, George Copos, a Romanian wealthy businessman, was sentenced to 3 years and 8 months in prison in the Transfers file and on August 25 the same year, he was sentenced to other 4 years in jail for tax evasion in the Lottery file. After the sentence merger, Copos had to stay behind bars for 4 years. Yet, in April last year, he was set free, after serving a third of his prison sentence. The judges’ arguments: Copos toed the scratch and showed ‘solid signs of retrieval.” Moreover, he produced five scientific works that cut his jail time by 150 days.

About Alina Grigoras Butu