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Romanian ex-PM arrives in prison hospital

A former Romanian prime minister arrived at a prison hospital Tuesday evening after a court ruled he should start his two-year sentence on corruption charges despite suffering injuries from shooting himself in a suicide attempt.

Adrian Nastase arrived at Rahova prison in south Bucharest hours after the Bucharest Court ruled that there was "no impediment" for him to start serving his sentence. Nastase was hospitalized last Wednesday after he shot himself in a suicide attempt following a Supreme Court decision to uphold his prison sentence.

Nastase, Romania's prime minister from 2000 to 2004, was convicted of illegal fundraising during his failed presidential bid in 2004. He is the most senior Romanian politician to be convicted of corruption and sentenced to prison since the communist era ended in 1989. His case comes as Romania faces pressure from the European Union to crack down on corruption.

Earlier Tuesday, the National Anti-Corruption Department said three unidentified police officers and the doctor who treated Nastase are being investigated for helping a convicted criminal. It said Dr. Serban Bradisteanu had made it difficult to "execute the prison sentence" upheld by Romania's Supreme Court, but did not explain why the police were under suspicion.

General Prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi went a step further, saying she doubted the medical diagnosis made by Bradisteanu, who treated Nastase after he shot himself in the neck at his home in Bucharest on Wednesday and operated on him the next day. Bradisteanu, a former lawmaker with Nastase's party, had said Nastase had diabetes and cardiac problems and must stay in the hospital for 14 days.

Kovesi added, however, that she did not doubt that Nastase, an avid hunter, had tried to commit suicide.

All that is known about the three police officers who are being investigated is that they are not the ones who were trying to arrest Bradisteanu at his home around the time of the shooting.

Romanian media have speculated that Nastase's wounds were superficial because he was not using an oxygen mask when he was taken to a hospital while conscious, and there was no obvious sign of bleeding.

Nastase's lawyers had requested his sentence be delayed for three months and will likely appeal Tuesday's court ruling.