The torturers of anti-communist dissident Gheorghe Ursu acquitted, final ruling


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Former Securitate (former communist secret police) officers Marin Pârvulescu and Vasile Hodiş, accused of torturing the dissident Gheorghe Ursu, were definitively acquitted on Thursday by the High Court of Cassation and Justice. The engineer Gheorghe Ursu – one of the most famous fighters against the communist regime – died on November 17, 1985, at the Jilava Penitentiary Hospital, following the beatings he allegedly received from Marin Pîrvulescu and other security officers, but also following the aggression from some common law prisoners.

Sent to court by prosecutors in August 2016 for crimes against humanity, Marin Pîrvulescu and Vasile Hodiş were also acquitted by the Bucharest Court of Appeal in October 2019.

The ruling was challenged both by the Prosecutor’s Office and by Andrei Ursu, the son of the dissident Gheorghe Ursu, who complained about the way in which the two former communist security officers were acquitted. On Thursday, the High Court of Cassation and Justice rejected their appeals as “unfounded” and upheld the acquittal of the two former security officers.

In a message posted on Facebook on Thursday, before the court pronounced its final decision, Andrei Ursu, the dissident’s son, says that dozens of testimonies and documents prove that Gheorghe Ursu “was tortured in detention, systematically, until death, by to his investigator, Pîrvulescu Marin, seconded by Hodis Vasile, both officers in the 6th Directorate of the DSS”.

The Minister of Justice, Alina Gorghiu, reacted to the supreme court’s decision to acquit the torturers of the dissident Gheorghe Ursu, saying that she would have liked, as a simple citizen, not to be “a witness to the validation of any form of repression, of torture, of the legitimization instruments of force that cast into obscurity fundamental rights and freedoms”.

The Institute for the Investigation of the Crimes of Communism and the Memory of Romanian Exile (IICCMER) expresses its “sadness, stupor and revolt” after the supreme court’s decision to acquit the former security officers Marin Pârvulescu and Vasile Hodiş, responsible for the death of the dissident Gheorghe Ursu, in September 1985. The institution says that the decision “goes against all the values ​​on which the rule of law is based, as well as the idea of ​​justice in Romania”.

The supreme court – headed by judge Corina Corbu – made public the reasoning behind the decision by which a panel of three judges acquitted former security officers Marin Pârvulescu and Vasile Hodiş, accused of torturing the dissident Gheorghe Ursu, who died in Jilava , on November 17, 1985.

Mainly, the three magistrates argue, among other things, that the victim “was not an opponent of the communist regime and was not in adversarial relations with the state security organs, as long as his views and disagreement with state politics and leadership did not were made public, did not reach the knowledge of the general public in any other way and did not produce any consequences in external reality (they were not of a nature to propagate hostile ideas and conceptions or to instigate actions against the socialist order)”.

Moreover, the judges argued that Ursu had the freedom to travel abroad in the West prior to 1985.

“Prior to 1985, the victim enjoyed freedom of movement, traveling numerous times to the West, for tourist purposes, as can be seen from his own statements (in 1974 in Paris, in 1978 in Vienna – Venice – Zürich – Paris – Barcelona – Madrid – Toledo – Granada – Cordoba – Paris, London – Burgas – The Hague – Amsterdam – Cologne, Vienna – Bucharest, in 1980 in Greece, Turkey, and his wife in Israel),” they say.

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