Romania: Ex-PM Năstase convicted for corruption

21 June 2012 – Presseurop Jurnalul Naţional, Adevărul,, România libera


On 20 June, the Romanian high court concluded that former PM Adrian Năstase (2004-2006) should serve a custodial sentence of two years for the misappropriation of approximately 1.5 million euros collected from companies and businessmen invited to participate at a congress in 2004. When police arrived at the home of the social-democratic politician, Năstase, age 61, attempted to commit suicide with a handgun, and suffered a serious wound to his throat. He has now been hospitalised in Bucharest.

Reporting on the story, Adevărul remarks that the verdict is “unprecedented” in post-communist Romania — a point also taken up by Vlad Mixich, writing for the website Hotnews, whohails the ruling —

Today, I have learned that no one is untouchable, and that money and political parties are no longer sufficient protection. Today my country has taught me this is possible. Today the Revolution of 1989 has finally come to represent a real evolution.

Mixich notes that Năstase’s lawyers have announced that they will appeal to the European Court of Human Rights against what they perceive to be a politically motivated ruling —

Some say it is a political case, while others insist that Năstase will not serve enough jail-time. But today we can finally say that none of this really matters. Today my generation finally rediscovered what is possible.

“It is a good beginning,” remarks an enthusiastic România liberă. This is the start of “sleepless nights for major perpetrators of corruption, and an end to the leniency which is in part responsible for the fact that the Romanian justice system has been placed “under the supervision of European institutions”.

However, this optimism is not shared by Jurnalul Naţional, which insists that authorities have “made an example” of Adrian Năstase —

It is a ritual execution that has been prepared over the last eight years by [the current president] Traian Băsescu, and one that is expected by his voters. With the first ever incarceration of a government leader in the history of post-revolutionary Romania — and in passing we should say, of our most effective prime minister — we have opened a Pandora’s box. Ministers and former ministers will now have to take into account that they can be sent to prison with every change of government.

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