President Traian Basescu was present at the District 5 Court yesterday where he was summoned as part of his suit against Social-Democrat MP Mugurel Surupaceanu. The latter was sued after he stated that the Presidency abetted the consumption of recreational drugs. The judges will rule in this suit on May 25.
On his arrival the President stated that he is there to make a statement. “I’ve asked for symbolic damages because I’m first of all interested in protecting the institution’s and my prestige,” Basescu stated for Mediafax before entering the courtroom. One year ago President Traian Basescu sued Social-Democrat MP Mugurel Surupaceanu and asked for RON 1 in damages after the latter stated during a press conference that the government and the Presidency abet the consumption of recreational drugs.
During the hearing, Basescu explained that he refused to promulgate Surupaceanu’s draft law because it proposed a much harsher approach to the consumption of recreational drugs and ethnobotanical products and that one month before that draft ended up on his desk the government had already come up with an emergency ordinance that set out the measures to be taken against ethnobotanical shops.
In the questions he asked the Head of State, Surupaceanu insisted on the fact that the government’s ordinance gave the owners of ethnobotanical shops ten days to destroy the products, while his draft law proposed jail sentences.
“Authorities were taken by surprise by the rise and spread of the ethnobotanical phenomenon. We wanted a time table for them to become legal because these recreational drugs were not legal before the emergency ordinance came about. Moreover, state authorities need time to plan their actions in order for them to be efficient,” Basescu explained before the judges.
When asked if he is aware of the statements that the Social-Democrat MP publicly made on the issue of recreational drugs, the Head of State answered: “I am not a reader of Mr. Surupaceanu’s musings.” He told the judge that at first he did not pay attention to the Social-Democrat MP’s statements. “I didn’t pay attention to his statements until I saw their effects, and here I’m talking about the press articles claiming that Basescu financed his elections campaign with money from drugs. Then I thought it was time to act,” Basescu said. After the hearing ended the President pointed out that he takes advantage of his presence in front of a judge in order to draw attention to the fact that the public space has become “extremely polluted.”