Europe

Romania: ex-prison chief gets 20 years for detainee deaths

  • Ion Ficior, 88, centre, former commander of the communist era the Periprava labor camp from 1958 to 1963, is led handcuffed to a police car, shortly after his arrest in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, March 29, 2017.  A Romanian court on Wednesday upheld the 20-year sentence for crimes against humanity of former prison commander Ficior for the deaths of 103 political prisoners while he was in charge of a communist-era labor camp. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

    Ion Ficior, 88, centre, former commander of the communist era the Periprava labor camp from 1958 to 1963, is led handcuffed to a police car, shortly after his arrest in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, March 29, 2017. A Romanian court on Wednesday upheld the 20-year sentence for crimes against humanity of former prison commander Ficior for the deaths of 103 political prisoners while he was in charge of a communist-era labor camp. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ion Ficior, 88,  former commander of the communist era the Periprava labor camp from 1958 to 1963, is led handcuffed to a police car, shortly after his arrest in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, March 29, 2017.  A Romanian court on Wednesday upheld the 20-year sentence for crimes against humanity of former prison commander Ficior for the deaths of 103 political prisoners while he was in charge of a communist-era labor camp. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

    Ion Ficior, 88, former commander of the communist era the Periprava labor camp from 1958 to 1963, is led handcuffed to a police car, shortly after his arrest in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, March 29, 2017. A Romanian court on Wednesday upheld the 20-year sentence for crimes against humanity of former prison commander Ficior for the deaths of 103 political prisoners while he was in charge of a communist-era labor camp. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)  (The Associated Press)

  • Ion Ficior, 88, former commander of the communist era the Periprava labor camp from 1958 to 1963, covers his face with his handcuffed hands while being driven in a police car, shortly after his arrest in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, March 29, 2017. A Romanian court on Wednesday upheld the 20-year sentence for crimes against humanity of  the former prison commander for the deaths of 103 political prisoners while he was in charge of a communist-era labor camp.(AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)

    Ion Ficior, 88, former commander of the communist era the Periprava labor camp from 1958 to 1963, covers his face with his handcuffed hands while being driven in a police car, shortly after his arrest in Bucharest, Romania, Wednesday, March 29, 2017. A Romanian court on Wednesday upheld the 20-year sentence for crimes against humanity of the former prison commander for the deaths of 103 political prisoners while he was in charge of a communist-era labor camp.(AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)  (The Associated Press)

A Romanian court has upheld the 20-year sentence of a former prison commander for the deaths of 103 political prisoners while he was in charge of a communist-era labor camp.

The High Court of Cassation and Justice on Wednesday rejected the appeal of Ion Ficior, 88, who has denied wrongdoing and said he was merely following orders. Ficior was convicted of crimes against humanity.

He was commander at the Periprava labor camp from 1958 to 1963. Former detainees accused Ficior of beatings, a lack of food and medicine, and unheated cells.

In 2016, in the first case of its kind in Romania, a court sentenced another former commander, Alexandru Visinescu to 20 years, for the abuse and deaths of prisoners at the Ramnicu Sarat prison, which he ran from 1956 to 1963.