Romania: Court sets new date for ex-prison chief appeal

A former Romanian prison commander sentenced to 20 years for the deaths of 103 political prisoners under his command at a communist-era labor camp did not attend the first hearing in his appeal, saying he was sick and had not had time to hire a lawyer.

Ion Ficior ran the Periprava labor camp from 1958 to 1963. The 88-year-old was sentenced by a court on March 30 and he appealed.

The High Court of Cassation and Justice on Wednesday set a new hearing for Nov. 16.

Former detainees accused Ficior of beatings, a lack of food and medicine, and unheated cells. He denies wrongdoing and says he was merely following orders.