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May 18, 2021

Up to EUR 10,000 as compensations to former political prisoners

The government wants to limit, by Emergency Ordinance, to a maximum EUR 10,000 the compensations granted by courts, under Law 221/2009, to those who were political prisoners in the communist era, from 6 March 1945 to 22 December 2009. First degree descendants will receive half of this sum and second degree descendants a quarter of it.

The government made this decision after the Romanian justice recently ruled moral compensations worth EUR 1.1 M to former PNTCD president Ion Diaconescu and to Emanoil Mihailescu.

Ion Diaconescu, who spent six years in the communist jails, was granted by the Bucharest Tribunal a compensation of EUR 500,000 for his suffering. Diaconescu had sought EUR 18 M as compensations for his ordeal during the communist era. The same Tribunal granted Mihailescu a compensation of EUR 600,000, ‘Adevarul’ newspaper reports. Mihailescu was a member of the ‘Burning Pyre” intellectual and religious organisation. In 1958, he was arrested by the communist regime and spent the next five years in several prisons, like Jilava, Gherla and Stoenesti, according to the source.

The justification note of the Ordinance drafted by the Finance Ministry (MFP) mentions that none of the court decisions made under Law 221/2009 is final and irrevocable, as far as the Ministry knows. Otherwise, the limitation could have been challenged as discriminatory in the future. On the other hand, the draft act explains that the new ceiling “will be enforced in the case of lawsuits and demands that were not solved by final court decision until the moment when the present Emergency Ordinance comes into effect.” This choice of words implies there may be former political prisoners who receive compensations over EUR 10,000, by irrevocable decision.

MFP also provided in the draft ordinance details on how to calculate the compensations quantum, so the court must take into account “reparatory measures already granted to people politically persecuted by the dictatorship that was instated on 6 March 1945, as well as to those deported abroad or who had the status of prisoners.” Law 221/2009 on political court sentences and the assimilated administrative measures pronounced during 6 March 1945 – 22 December 1989 was enforced at the middle of 2009. It allows former political prisoners to seek compensations in court, within a three-year period.

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