‘August 10’ case partially dismissed. Prosecutors say there is no evidence of coup d’etat attempt, charges dropped against gendarmerie chiefs

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Almost two years since the Diaspora rally in Victoriei Square on August 10, anti-organized crime prosecutors have partially dismissed the case today. They argued there is no evidence of a coup d’etat attempt, as the Romanian Gendarmerie had claimed in the complain filed at DIICOT, but, on the other hand, DIICOT argues that there is no evidence either that the repression of the protest has been premeditated, as part of the protester claimed.

Therefore,  charges have been dropped against the gendarmerie chiefs. Colonel Gheorghe Sebastian Cucoş, first deputy chief of the Romanian Gendarmerie, major Laurenţiu Cazan, former director general of the Bucharest Gendarmerie, colonel Cătălin Sindile, former chief of the Romanian Gendarmerie and police chief commissioner Mihai Dan Chirică, former secretary of state on liaison with prefects have got away with the criminal prosecution.

However, the case is not completely closed, as DIICOT argues that there are yet some punctual cases when several gendarmes have violently intervened against protesters, so they will be prosecuted for abusive conduct by the Military Prosecutor’s Office. DIICOT says that these gendarmes “would have taken advantage of their public position to exert unjustified violence against some protesters”.

The Gendarmerie chiefs who were in charge at the time of the rally were charged with abuse of office and abusive conduct.

However, investigators considered that the riot police’s decision to stop the protest had been legitimate as it could have prompted a tragic situation after the gun of a female gendarme had been stolen by one of the protesters.

According to DIICOT’s dismissal ordinance of the ’10 August’ file that there was a moral complicity of the peaceful protesters in Victoriei Square, who did not delimit themselves from the violent protesters, but on the contrary they “were amused”. Moreover, prosecutors jumped to the conclusion that “not all the collateral victims” of the gendarmes’ intervention were necessarily “innocent victims”.

The gendarmes’ attempt to extract the violent protesters from the crowd has failed particularly because of the alleged peaceful protesters’ attitude”, reads the document.

The Diaspora rally file has been initially investigated  by the Military Prosecutor’s Office. Protesters and gendarmes filed almost 1,000 complaints and over 1,600 people were heard. Four officials have been prosecuted.

Thousands of citizens, mostly Romanians from Diaspora, attended the rally on August 10, 2018, in protest against the Social Democrat government at that time led by Viorica Dancila. The protest ended up in tens of protesters and gendarmes injured following violent clashes.

Liberal Ovidiu Raeţchi, deputy chairman of the Defence Committee in the Chamber of Deputies, has stated that the DIICOT’s decision to partially close the August 10 file must be taken as such and respected and that it can be checked only within a hierarchical control that has already been announced at the Interior Ministry.

Hundreds of innocent protesters from the civil society, but also members of PNL or other Opposition parties were injured and gassed back then, so the social dissatisfaction is honestly shared by every Liberal”, Raeţchi posted on Facebook.

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