Truth to Power

17 December 2017

It’s been 28 years since the start of the Revolution, which ended the half-a-century long communist dictatorship in Romania. A total of TWO torturers have been sentenced to jail so far. Ion Ficior, the former chief of Periprava jail, was responsible for the deaths of 103 political prisoners. Alexandru Visinescu was in charge of the Ramnicu Sarat prison between 1956 and 1963; 12 out of the 138 political prisoners held there at the time died. In both cases, the prosecution showed how prisoners were physically and mentally tortured, denied food and medicines, and kept in conditions below the minimum threshold required to ensure a person’s survival. Both were convicted and received 20-year jail sentences.

Two torturers convicted, out of the thousands active over a 45-year period. Their home was the Securitate – short from Department of State Security, the Romanian secret police agency set up in the 40’s, which became the most notorious of all the secret police forces in the former Soviet bloc.

Two convictions. Is this how we speak truth to a long-defunct power? How we honour the memory of those who died at its hands? Or do we live with some ghosts of that power still?