Ex prison guard of Communist prison is charged with genocide

Romanian prosecutors have charged the commander of a Communist-era prison with genocide, the first Romanian to face the charge since 1989.

Alexandru Visinescu, 87, appeared before prosecutors Tuesday to be presented with the charges. Between between 1956 and 1963, he ran the Ramnicu Sarat prison where the pre-Communist elite and intellectuals were incarcerated.

Visinescu declined to comment as he was led to a taxi. He has said he was only following orders.

Prosecutors said in a statement that under his command prisoners were subjected to beatings, hunger, a lack of medical treatment and exposure to cold. Visinescu could face life in prison if convicted.

The last Romanian to be charged with genocide was former leader Nicolae Ceausescu who was tried and executed in 1989.