Former Communist prison commander charged with genocide denies charges, says he has no regrets

A former prison commander facing genocide charges for communist-era deaths at a notorious Romanian prison where the country's political and intellectual elite were incarcerated has denied the charges.

Prosecutors accuse 87-year-old Alexandru Visinescu of responsibility for the deaths of six political prisoners at the Ramnicu Sarat prison from 1956 to 1963 when he was commander. Prosecutors said prisoners were subjected to beatings, hunger, a lack of medical treatment and exposure to cold. No date has been set for a trial yet.

Visinescu denied charges to prosecutors at a closed hearing Tuesday. Asked by reporters whether he had regrets, he replied: "No way." His lawyer says he regretted "the period when the prisons existed, but he did not do anything."

About 500,000 Romanians were condemned as political prisoners in the 1950s as the Communist government sought to crush all dissent. Prosecutors say Visinescu participated in efforts to wipe them out.