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

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.