Elena Udrea was brought to the High Court of Cassation and Justice (ICCJ) on Tuesday for the hearing of her appeal against the Court decision to keep her under arrest in the Gala Bute case.
Udrea’s lawyer Marius Striblea said on that he had asked for the arrest to be replaced by probation or house arrest and confirmed that Udrea had received a threat letter, saying that his client was ‘ worried because of that letter’.
‘Maybe this displeasure is, in reality, the concern about the letter situation. A person in an environment they do not control, where they do not have the desired protection, will naturally have this fear and it may well be that her state of mind is fundamentally affected by this issue’, Striblea said.
‘Mrs. Udrea has never complained about detention conditions. She has, however, denounced the remand conditions. She didn’t say she was living in worse conditions than the others. Here, at Targsor, she has raised the issue of not being able to contact her lawyer and prepare her defence. (…) We have asked that the preventive arrest measure is replaced by house arrest or probation. At this phase of the process we would be happy with house arrest’, the lawyer also said.
The Court was also set to hear the appeals introduced by the former President of the Romanian Boxing Federation, Rudel Obreja, and Tudor Breazu, the manager of Udrea’s Nana estate, both under arrest.
Elena Udrea was incarcerated at the Women’s Prison at Targsor, after she was referred to Court in the Gala Bute case on 21 April, charged with the commission of three bribery offences, abuse of office and attempted use of false, inaccurate or incomplete documents or statements for unjustly obtaining European funds.
Ex-Economy Minister Ion Ariton, the former President of the Romanian Boxing Federation, Rudel Obreja, Tudor Breazu, the manager of Udrea’s Nana estate, Stefan Lungu, Udrea’s ex-advisor, Gheorghe Nastasia, former Secretary General of the Ministry of Regional Development and Tourism, Ana Maria Topoliceanu, former Director of the National Investment Company, Dragoș Marius Botoroagă, company manager.
DNA claim Udrea coordinated a scheme through which people close to her, including Lungu, Topoliceanu, Nastasia and Breazu, received, with her knowledge, money from various companies in order to guarantee timely payment for contracts financed by the ministry headed by the defendant.
Increased protection demanded in Targsor, after receiving a threatening letter
On Monday, Elena Udrea demanded the Targsor Penitentiary an increase in her supervision, showing that she had started to feel fearful after receiving a threatening letter while being under arrest.
The former Tourism Minister personally submitted on Monday a request to Targsor Penitentiary, where she was closed. Elena Udrea’s lawyer pointed out that the former Minister fears that one of the convicts may even infect her with HIV, as she was warned in the letter. In the meantime, an inquiry is conducted at the Colibasi Penitentiary, to check whether one of the convicts sent that letter.
Elena Udrea, placed under preventive arrest in the “Bute Gala” File was transferred on Monday from the Central Arrest Department of the Bucharest Police to the Women’s Penitentiary in Targsor, where the former Head of DIICOT, Alina Bica, was also kept imprisoned. Udrea will spent 21 days in quarantine, at the special department.
Ruxandra Dragomir, who had visited Elena Udrea at the Targsor Penitentiary, says that it is for the first time, ever since she started visiting Udrea in jail, that she felt Udrea was really having a tough time, mentioning that they could only talk from behind a glass panel, by phone, and that the whole experience was degrading and humiliating.
Dragomir declared that a convict imprisoned at the Colibasi Penitentiary had sent Elena Udrea, while she was at the Central Arrest Department of the Bucharest Police, a letter, saying that he had received an order from the clan of the underworld family Camataru to stab Udrea with a needle infected with HIV.
The attack was supposed to take place at the time she was being transferred by the Court. Furthermore, the man, who says he is 42 years old and that he was behind bars for kidnapping and loan sharking, wrote her that the action was ordered by Sile Camataru, who was willing to pay EUR 15,000.
Initially, Dragomir declared, Elena Udrea ignored the letter, as she considered that a letter from a convict deserved no attention. Now, she has published it because of the way she was transferred, without any explication, from one day to the next, without the knowledge of her lawyers, without being announced, to Targsor. I considered that this manner of transferring was very brutal and I am glad that she has published this letter because any threat like this must be taken seriously. And it seems that authorities are acting accordingly. Elena had already had a discussion with the manager of the penitentiary. The security related to Elena Udrea’s person increased”, Ruxandra Dragomir explained in a TV show on B1.
She also mentioned that the ex-Minister is sharing her cell with three more convicts and that the conditions in the penitentiary are inhuman, yet, the staff of the prison is not hostile towards Elena Udrea.
Ruxandra Dargomir: You keep Elena Udrea imprisoned and you humiliate her as much as you can, hoping that, perhaps, she will say something or she will make a denunciation against Traian Basescu
“She is staying with three other colleagues and the only good thing there is that she has a bigger room. Otherwise, the conditions are inhuman, I might say. The fact that we were only allowed to communicate by a window glass, by phone, gave me a terrible sensation. At the time you get there and you see yourself as innocent, everything seems an abuse. Elena does not benefit of any presumption of innocence and she actually seems convicted before the trial even started. (…) I cannot say that the staff was hostile towards Elena, on the contrary. The staff behaved very nicely”, the former Minister’s friend also added.
Ruxandra Dragomir mentioned two more arguments explaining why Elena Udrea did not benefit of a gentler measure so far.
“I only see two arguments. You keep Elena Udrea imprisoned and you humiliate her as much as you can, hoping that she will say something or, perhaps, she will make a denunciation against Traian Basescu. It is not solely my opinion. Everybody is looking forward to Elena Udrea saying something about Traian Basescu. I do not think that she will and I do not think that she has anything to say about Traian Basescu. The second reason is that Elena Udrea had had the courage to unveil a system that is working unproperly, a corrupt system that has several issues nobody wants to talk about”, Ruxandra Dragomir also added.