Romania: 4 to stand trial for 1985 death of dissident

Romanian military prosecutors say four former communist officials will stand trial for the death of a dissident in prison under the regime of former leader Nicolae Ceausescu.

Dissident Gheorghe Ursu died two months after being arrested in 1985, after allegedly being beaten repeatedly by interrogators and inmates on the orders of the Securitate secret police. They claimed he had kept a diary in which he criticized the Ceausescu regime.

Prosecutor Marian Lazar said Monday the former head of the Securitate, Tudor Postelnicu, former Interior Minister George Homosteanu, and retired Securitate secret police officers Marian Parvulescu and Vasile Hodis will face trial for crimes against humanity.

Romania has been slow to prosecute those who allegedly committed abuses under Ceausescu because many officials retained their jobs after the regime collapsed in 1990.