A retired Romanian general who organized the summary trial of communist leader Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife has died. Victor Stanculescu was 88.

His lawyer, Catalin Dancu, said Stanculescu died in a nursing home Sunday after recently suffering a stroke.

Stanculescu held a senior position in Ceausescu's regime and was dispatched to crack down on demonstrators protesting against Ceausescu's rule in the city of Timisoara in 1989.

Days later, he turned against the Ceausescus and was a key organizer of their trial, which led to their execution.

Some 72 protesters died in Timisoara and 253 were wounded, marking the start of the uprising against Ceausescu's regime. In 2008, Stanculescu was sentenced to 15 years in prison for his role in killing demonstrators. He was freed in 2014.