The fate of half a million political prisoners
VALENTIN CRISTEA , an 83-year-old engineer living in the tiny Romanian town of Comarnic, will never forget a day more than 55 years ago. On February 8th 1956, he was arrested by the Securitate, Romania’s notorious secret police, because he was accused of links with an anti-Communist resistance group. He was sentenced to five years in prison for disclosure of state secrets and jailed at the Râmnicu Sărat prison. After the Communists came to power in 1945  some of the country’s most prominent politicians, intellectuals and other members of the elite were tortured, beaten and isolated at Râmnicu Sărat. Some of them, such as Ion Mihalache, the leader of the Peasant Party, who was denied medical care and was frequently beaten, died in prison. Others, such as Ion Diaconescu and Corneliu Coposu, lived in horrific conditions and isolation. The prison’s terror methods included giving prisoners rotten food or forcing them to eat excrements. Read more...

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