Ex-DIICOT chief Alina Bica recounts in an interview offered to Romania TV what has happened with her life since the moment she was arrested in the street, during the period she was remanded in custody and how she managed ‘to keep it together’ behind bars.
‘The arrest was an odd experience, because, to be honest, I was prepared for many things in this life – illness, death, family problems. But I honestly was not prepared for that. I had never imagined that I could end up under arrest as requested by a fellow prosecutor’, Bica confessed. She also said that her detention period was ‘anaesthesia’. ‘While on remand, I had read a lot about the 1950s. I felt like someone who left to work at 8 am and came back home after six months’, she also said.
Still marked by her period of detention, Alina Bica said she was happy she had not lost it, but that she could not forget the moments when, aware she was being tailed around the clock, she was leading an almost clandestine life in her own home.
‘After a long time, I feel well’
‘I don’t think that’s the worst thing that has ever happened to me. There are even worse things. Such as whispering in your own home. I was whispering. Not anymore. While I was the head of DIICOT – I am never going to be a prosecutor – I was whispering at home. And there was another funny thing – I would never walk out of the bathroom naked, because I was afraid I might become a laughing stock. I do not wish to talk about these things. But now I feel very well, honestly. After a long time, I feel well’, she added.
While under arrest, in the custody of Bucharest Police, Bica said was more troubled by the grievous allegations made against her than by the improper detention conditions.
‘It is horrible under arrest with the Bucharest Police. I had to share an extremely restricted space with three other persons. From the point of view of space itself, it didn’t seem like some big drama that I had to live in the 10 square metres of the room. I didn’t find it to be a major drama that I had to relate to the other three ladies in there, that there was no bathroom door. That was not the dramatic part, the human being is versatile. I adjusted very well. I felt that my personality was being erased, that was the dramatic part for me. I had to tell myself 300 times a day – this is not an overstatement – that I was Alina Bica’, said the ex-DIICOT chief.
After being moved to the Targsor prison, sharing room with women some of whom were there because of her activity as a prosecutor, Bica said they were being polite even when using injurious language. ‘Paradoxically, when they were saying nasty things to me at Targsor, they would always address to me with <Mrs. Bica>, and that was quite funny, because I had never been sworn at by anyone before who called me <Mrs. Bica’. No one tried to bully me’, the former anti0mafia chief also said.
Despite the period she has been through, Alina Bica continues to consider herself ‘a successful woman’ and continues to say that a prosecutor should not be interested in the conditions under which the suspects he/she sends into custody live.
‘When I said at the gate of the prison, when I was released, that I was a successful woman, it was not an assertion. A gentleman was impertinent and I answered in the same manner, because I have always known my talk. I am the first child in my family who went to university from Fagaras and I came where I am without anyone inflating me overnight. I have often seen people in TV talking about me without knowing me. I came from a low position. In 2002, I came to Bucharest, being transferred from the Brasov Tribunal Prosecutor’s Office to the Bucharest Tribunal Prosecutor’s Office. I climbed step after step until 2009, when I was seconded to the Ministry of justice. I did not appear overnight’, she confessed.
‘Prosecutor Bica, before her arrest, had never thought about the arrest conditions \to which she was sending many people. I regret to say no. I was never interested in that aspect. Have told you I will never be a prosecutor again, I could never keep my objectiveness in appreciating situations. I think the prosecutor should not relate to the area of preventive arrest, because, after a single day spent there, you couldn’t be a prosecutor again, which is not a good thing. The prosecutor should stop on the doorstep of the prosecutor’s office’, she stressed.
‘Friendship with Elena Udrea neither helped nor hurt’
After her release, even under the strict conditions of preventive arrest, Alina Bica came to terms with the idea that, at least for a while, she would have to see in her won flat, even at midnight, the proximity policemen.
‘The policemen come when they wish, but, in my case, since I was sent home, I receive a minimum of two visits per day – one during the day and one at night. The proximity officer has shown up at 1am, at 2 am, at 4 am or 6am. They came every night. They prepare a report which I sign that I was found in. I don’t want you to think that I am complaining, but I have developed insomnia because, after you get up, sign and talk to the officer, you cannot go back to sleep until 3-4 in the morning’, she also said.
Bica also explained during the interview why ex-President Traian Basescu had not visited her at her home, after being released from the Targsor prison. ‘Traian Basescu has not come to visit me. I would like to make one correction: I neither refused nor accepted the visit. He never phoned. I believe he couldn’t have phoned, as he did not have my number’.
As for her friendship with Elena Udrea, Bica said she admitted to the connection and that the two of them had not spoken since her release.
‘I admit to being Elena Udrea’s friend. To some gentlemen’s dissatisfaction, I do. I have not spoken with Elena Udrea since my release. Not because I was afraid that might complicate my legal situation, but because it was not the case. There could have been no complication, because I received no interdiction to communicate with Mrs. Udrea. But each of us, in my opinion, ought to be analysing their own lives and readjust after a traumatising experience’, she said. Alina Bica added she had always been ready for repercussions regarding their friendship.
‘I came close to Elena Udrea, we became friends. We knew each other from the Government. We became friends some three months before she stopped being a minister and I ended up to where I got. To me it seemed like a gross lack of character to deny my friendship with a person who chose to be my friend while she was a very powerful figure in this country. When I was proposed to be the heed of DIICOT, I informed all decision makers in this country about my friendship with Elena Udrea. I told to everybody that I and Elena Udrea were friends’, Bica said.
About the episode where the two of them were secretly filmed in Paris, the ex-DIICOT head says she didn’t find it inappropriate to spend a day there with the presidential candidate.
‘I realised I was going to spend Valentine’s Day in 2014 alone at home, because of family problems. Realising that in 2014 I wasn’t going to take leave, I had announced that, when Mrs. Udrea told me she was going to Paris on Valentine’s Day, it didn’t seem unusual for me to go and spend a day there. Again some gentlemen will not be very happy about what I say: I have known a different face of Elena than the rest of the world’, she also explained.
‘I think my friendship with Elena Udrea neither helped nor hurt, because, if Mrs. Udrea had wanted to or things had been as they are said to have been on some TV stations, I wouldn’t have been the head of DIICOT’, she concluded.