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Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance

& Other Ill Treatment

In the early years of the 21st Century, 2000 to 2025                                    


Conditions in prisons are harsh, and abuse of detainees by police remains a problem.

  [Freedom House Country Report, 2018]

Description: Description: Description: Romania

CAUTION:  The following links have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in Romania.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated or even false.  No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of Torture by Authorities are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring the moral justification for inflicting pain or inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment in order to obtain critical information that may save countless lives, or to elicit a confession for a criminal act, or to punish someone to teach him a lesson outside of the courtroom.  Perhaps your paper might focus on some of the methods of torture, like fear, extreme temperatures, starvation, thirst, sleep deprivation, suffocation, or immersion in freezing water.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the people acting in an official capacity who perpetrate such cruelty.  There is a lot to the subject of Torture by Authorities.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.

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Council of Europe anti-torture committee publishes report on Romania, highlighting that the challenges facing the prison system remain extensive

European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment CPT, 14 April 2022

[accessed 14 April 2022]

Moreover, the CPT’s report states that continued overcrowding in the prisons remains a serious problem, impacting not only on living conditions but also on the provision of activities, health care and violence. Two of the establishments visited, Craiova and Mărgineni Prisons, were operating above 150% of their capacity, offering many persons only 2m˛ of living space each in their cells. In addition, the material conditions in all the prisons visited were generally poor, with cells dilapidated and lacking furnishings, and mattresses and bedding worn out and infested with bed bugs.

The majority of persons met by the CPT’s delegation indicated that they had been treated correctly by staff. Nevertheless, a considerable number of allegations of physical ill-treatment of prisoners by prison staff were received, including by members of the masked intervention groups. This was notably the case at Giurgiu Prison, where credible allegations of several persons having been repeatedly subjected to blows to the soles of their feet were received: a torture method known as falaka. The CPT again raises serious concerns over the lack of recording of and reporting on injuries by the health care service and failures to investigate allegations of ill-treatment in prison effectively.

2020 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices: Romania

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, 30 March 2021

[accessed 5 August 2021]


The constitution and law prohibit such practices, but there were reports from nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and media that police and gendarmes mistreated and abused Roma, primarily with excessive force, including beatings.

On April 23, media circulated a video showing the chief of police in the town of Bolintin Vale in Giurgiu County beating several Romani persons immobilized in handcuffs on the ground and verbally abusing them for speaking in the Romani language.

In 2019 prosecutors in Bucharest Sector 5 opened a case against 15 employees and the director of the Rahova Penitentiary Hospital for allegedly beating several inmates between 2015 and 2018 and falsifying medical records to cover up the abuses.

The NGO CRISS stated that in 44 cases of police brutality against Roma over the previous 13 years, there were no convictions at the national level, often because prosecutors did not take the cases to court. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in several cases that the justice system had failed to deliver a just outcome in cases of police brutality, particularly against Roma and cases involving abuses in psychiatric hospitals. The average time for a ruling in cases of alleged police abuse of Roma was nearly four years. In March the ECHR issued a ruling on a case involving the 2005 shooting of a 15-year-old Romani girl at close range by a police officer at a train depot in Chitila. As a result of the shooting, the victim suffered severe wounds and required surgery to remove part of her liver. The ECHR noted that authorities failed to ensure that physical evidence linked to the incident was gathered and preserved. Technical and medical expert reports were not produced until several years later, preventing the investigating authorities from making conclusive findings. Both the Prosecutor attached to the High Court of Cassation and Justice and a Bucharest district court dismissed the victim’s complaint in 2014 and 2015. According to the ECHR, authorities did not make genuine efforts to establish the events of the 2005 police operation.

Council of Europe anti-torture committee raises concerns over abuse of prisoners by staff, inter-prisoner violence and allegations of police ill-treatment

Council of Europe 2019 News, 19 March 2019

[accessed 17 May 2019]

As regards law enforcement, the report notes that the majority of persons interviewed by the CPT’s delegation stated that they had been treated correctly by police officers. Nevertheless, a number of allegations of physical ill-treatment (many of which corroborated by medical evidence) by police officers were received from detained persons. The allegations consisted primarily of slaps, punches, kicks and baton blows inflicted by police officers against criminal suspects either at the time of the arrest or during questioning at a police station, apparently for the primary purpose of coercing a confession. The CPT also comments on the investigation into allegations of police ill-treatment and recommends that prosecutors strictly apply the criteria of effectiveness.

The CPT again criticises the holding of criminal suspects and remand prisoners in police arrest detention centres for up to two months or more, where they are exposed to a greater risk of intimidation and pressure. These concerns are accentuated by the poor material conditions, inadequate health care and impoverished regime for persons held in arrest detention centres. Therefore, the CPT urges the Romanian authorities to consider converting arrest detention centres into proper pre-trial detention facilities and placing them under the authority of the Ministry of Justice and the National Prison Administration.

Freedom House Country Report

2018 Edition

[accessed 13 May 2020]

IS THERE PROTECTION FROM THE ILLEGITIMATE USE OF PHYSICAL FORCE AND FREEDOM FROM WAR AND INSURGENCIES? - Romania is free from war and insurgencies. Conditions in prisons, however, are harsh. In April, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) sanctioned Romania for poor prison conditions, and ordered it to take immediate measures to improve the conditions of inmates and come up with a timetable for resolving the problems within six months. In response, the government in October passed legislation reducing the sentences of some prisoners; under it, about 530 inmates were initially released early and some 3,500 more became eligible for release the next month. Civil society groups and others expressed concern that the release of inmates as a measure to reduce overcrowding in the prisons was not a proper response to the ECHR’s criticisms, and warned that the measure could be used to grant parole to officials convicted for corruption.

Abuse of detainees by police remains a problem.

Amnesty International Report 2002 - Romania

Amnesty International AI, 28 May 2002

[accessed 13 January 2019]

Police ill-treatment, sometimes amounting to torture, was widespread. There were numerous reports of police shootings in disputed circumstances. Provisions in the Penal Code criminalizing homosexuality were abolished, but a long-delayed comprehensive reform of the Penal Code and of the laws concerning the police force was again postponed. Conscientious objectors to military service were threatened with imprisonment.

TORTURE AND ILL-TREATMENT -- The number of reported incidents of police ill-treatment, in certain cases amounting to torture, increased. Some of the police officers involved had not been disciplined following earlier complaints of ill-treatment.

At least two people died in custody, reportedly as a result of torture or ill-treatment. A criminal investigation into one death in custody was initiated almost four months after the event, after public protests and repeated appeals from NGOs. The lack of adequate medical treatment in police lock-ups apparently contributed to the death in February of a man who was reportedly suffering from drug dependency. One reported victim of police torture, a 20-year-old man, committed suicide in January on the eve of a second interrogation.

In July Dumitru Grigoras, a 35-year-old father of four children, was arrested by two police officers, following a complaint that he had been violent to his wife. A man living opposite the police station alleged that later that evening he heard screams from the police station and one of the officers shouting, "Tell me! By morning I will have killed you anyway". Early the next morning the body of Dumitru Grigoras was taken to a local doctor's surgery. Police claimed that he had become ill while making a statement. Two days later Dumitru Grigoras's wife and father were allowed to see the body. They refused to take the body for burial because it was covered in bruises and other injuries and demanded a second autopsy. In October it was reported that two police officers were detained pending an investigation into Dumitru Grigoras's death; the result of the investigation was not known at the end of the year.

In March, 14-year-old Vasile Danut Moise was taken to the local police station in Vladesti for questioning by two police officers and a farmer whose cow had allegedly been stolen. Vasile Danut Moise later described how the police officers beat him on the palms of his hands and on the back with a "shepherd's staff" (a wooden rod about one metre long) and with a truncheon. A third officer hit him on the head with a lever-arch file, making him fall against a stove. That evening Vasile Danut Moise was taken to a paediatric hospital suffering from psychological trauma and injuries to his head, eye and back.


From an old article -- URL not available

Article was published sometime prior to 2015

EXCESSIVE USE OF FORCE - Incidents of violence between demonstrators and the police during the anti-government protests in January gave rise to allegations of excessive use of force by police officers. Media reports and video footage showed police using excessive force against seemingly peaceful demonstrators who were not offering any resistance. The NGO APADOR-Helsinki Committee documented several cases of abuses by the police during the demonstrations. It concluded that some of the law enforcement officers’ actions had been arbitrary and disproportionate. In February, the Ministry of Administration and Interior stated that four criminal complaints relating to the behaviour of police officers during the demonstrations were being investigated. No charges had been brought by the end of the year.


For more articles:: Search Amnesty International’s website

[accessed 13 January 2019]

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Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 11 February 2013]

[accessed 5 July 2019]

TORTURE AND OTHER CRUEL, INHUMAN, OR DEGRADING TREATMENT OR PUNISHMENT – The law prohibits such practices; however, there were numerous credible reports of police torture and mistreatment of detainees and Roma, primarily through excessive force and beatings by police.

In October a student from Bucharest, Razvan Vasile Muraru, stated that he had been beaten by three police officers in Tulcea county after allegedly having been taken without grounds to the police station. Muraru filed a complaint with the prosecutor's office, and police initiated an internal investigation which remained open at year's end.

In December two police officers in Tibana in Iasi county allegedly beat four minors with clubs and forced them to admit to committing an alleged theft. Two of the minors had to be hospitalized for their injuries. The officers were dismissed and remained under criminal investigation at year's end.

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Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Torture by Police, Forced Disappearance & Other Ill Treatment in the early years of the 21st Century- Romania",, [accessed <date>]