Prosecutors: Hayssam is alive, weapon smuggling case ongoing

Organized Crime and Terrorism Investigation Department (DIICOT) chief prosecutor Codrut Olaru said Omar Hayssam is ‘alive’ and prosecutors are currently working on a weapon smuggling case involving the Syrian national. In a Friday’s special session where DIICOT presented its activity report for last year, Olaru said he could not reveal too much information on Hayssam, as the case is still under investigation.

When asked why enquiries last this long, Olaru said the file was initially handled by ex prosecutor Ciprian Nastasiu, and that now it is in the care of another investigator who has to get acquainted with the file. Hayssam was sentenced to 20 years in prison on charges of terrorism, for orchestrating the kidnapping of three Romanian journalists in Iraq in 2005. In 2006, he was held in custody for several months, but was released on medical grounds, at Nastasiu’s request. He fled the country and has been sought ever since. He is currently believed to be in Syria.

During Friday’s activity report session, Olaru also said DIICOT solved several important cases last year, some of them a first for the institution, such as economic and military espionage, treason by revealing classified information and others. Moreover, DIICOT indicted two ministers for the first time last year – Codrut Seres and Zsolt Nagy, who were charged with taking part in an international organized crime group involved in classified information theft.

The DIICOT chief also pleaded in favour of new legal provisions as regards suspects’ initial detention time, as the 24-hour period currently provided by law is insufficient in many cases. “My personal wish is to have this period extended, as this would greatly help our activity,” he said. At the moment, investigators can detain a suspect without a warrant for 24 hours, after which they need a court ruling to extend the remand period.

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