It looks like the Germans are not the only ones still hunting down the perpetrators of the Nazi totalitarian regime, in an effort to restore justice and offer retribution to its victims. Alexandru Visinescu, a torturer during the Communist regime, and the head of the penitentiary in Ramnicu-Sarat between 1956-1963, was finally brought to trial yesterday, at 88 years of age. He is charged with genocide and considered directly responsible for the deaths of 12 political prisoners, among them the leader of the Peasants’ Party, Ion Mihalache. (The Peasants’ Party is considered the true victor of the 1946 elections, and a fierce opposer of the Communist Party). Ion Diaconescu, a member of the same party, and survivor from the same prison, described the daily lives of the prisoners as consisting of a long series of torture, beatings, unbearable cold, hunger, and complete isolation. Another victim of the same perpetrator was diplomat Victor Radulescu Pogoneanu, who was serving a 25-year sentence for “plot and treason”. He died after prison guards held his paralyzed legs and dragged him down stairs, banging his head on each step.
Visinescu was brought to trial thanks to the efforts of the Institute for the Investigation of Communist Crimes and the Memory of the Romanian Exile, which partnered with newspaper Gandul, in order to expose the crimes of several Communist perpetrators and put pressure on the Romanian justice system to bring them to trial.
Before this, Visinescu was living a quiet life in a centrally located apartment in Bucharest, living off of a pension which is considered obscenely high by Romanian standards. When discovered by journalists, who tried to get an interview with him, he became suddenly aggressive, trying to hit the reporter, as you can see from the footage below.
Confronted with the accusations, Alexandru Visinescu claimed he was only doing his job in a regime where higher-ups were making the life-or-death decisions. He claimed that he actually tried to show acts of humanity towards prisoners, such as adding water to an over-salted dish of polenta to make it more edible. However, the reports handed to the general prosecutor by the IICCMER institute describe the contrary.
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