Update: Releases in files over illegal 5-judge panels: Dan Sova, Constantin Nita and Rudel Obreja. Alina Bica and Elena Udrea get sentences suspended
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The Supreme Court (High Court of Cassation and Justice-ICCJ) has decided on Thursday afternoon to suspend the execution of sentence for Elena Udrea, former tourism minister, sentenced in ‘Bute Gala’ file until the appeal is finally solved, her lawyer, Veronel Radulescu, said. Udrea is currently in Costa Rica, imprisoned together with former DIICOT chief Alina Bica.
As for Alina Bica, the Supreme Court has upheld her appeal, so her final ruling of 4 years in prison is practically suspended.
The judges have also decided to suspend the sentence in the file of Tudor Breazu, sentenced to 3 years in prison in the same file, and had him released.
The ICCJ ruled on Wednesday night to release from prison several VIPs investigated for corruption in high-sounding files, after their lawyers had challenged in court the legality of the five-judge panels that had put them behind bars.
So, Rudel Obreja, the former head of the Romanian Box Federation, convicted in Bute Gala case, Dan Sova, former PSD senator, sentenced in CET Govora case and former Communications minister Constantin Nita, sentenced 4 years in prison for influence peddling, namely for receiving bribe for businessman Tiberiu Urdareanu, have been all released from Jilava Penitentiary were they had been imprisoned.
The three have asked, through their lawyers, that their trials should be resumed and have filed appeals. Although their motions have been scheduled after January 20, 2019, the judges have ruled for their release from prison.
Former senator Dan Sova was convicted to three years in prison in the CET Govora file. Right after he got out of jail, Sova stated: “I have one single comment, I was convicted by a 3 to 2 vote decision, with two judges acquitting me. I think it’s important that the judge who had made the difference and sent me to prison is precisely the one who should not have been in the panel. Prison is not something you want to talk about, it was humiliating.”
Rudel Obreja, serving a five-year jail sentenced in the Bute Gala file, said while leaving the penitentiary that “what happened to the High Court of Cassation and Justice was a huge scummy. Did these people not know they are acting illegally? We cannot suspect them of lack of knowledge“. “Iohannis should be ashamed, he should defend the citizen“, Obreja added.
The High Court’s five-judge panel which ruled for the release of Sova, Obreja and Nita, consisting of judgesEnceanu Simona Daniela, Rog Tatiana Lucia, Rus Alexandra Iuliana, Mera Luciana and Popa Rodica Aida will also judge the appeal filed by PSD chairman Liviu Dragnea’s lawyers in the fictitious hiring file, where Dragnea is sentenced to three years and a half in prison.
Other famous files are in the same situation, as the lawyers of former Development minister Elena Udrea and of ex-DIICOT head Alina Bica (both being currently imprisoned in Costa Rica where they had fled and asked for political asylum) have filed similar appeals. A decision in Udrea’s case is expected on January 27, 2019.
ICCJ has also ruled on the appeal of Serban Pop, former ANAF head, judged in the same file as Alina Bica, so, Serban, who is imprisoned, will be released from jail.