Romanian strongman Dragnea’s appeal rejected, remains in prison

Romania’s High Court of Cassation and Justice (Înalta Curte de Casație și Justiție or ICCJ) has rejected an appeal from former Social Democrat leader Liviu Dragnea, who asked for his prison sentence of three years and six months to be annulled in the case of DGASPC Teleorman.

Dragnea argued he was sentenced illegally and lodged an appeal that was rejected by the Supreme Court at the end of January 2020. In a final effort to get out of jail, the former PSD chief challenged the decision of the Supreme Court.

Dragnea was convicted on 21 June 2018 by the High Court of Cassation and Justice for incitement to abuse of office as chairman of the Teleorman County Council. He has received a prison sentence of 3 years and 6 months. On 27 May 2019 the sentence was upheld on appeal by the High Court of Cassation and Justice and Dragnea was jailed in Rahova Prison on the same day.

A majority of the High Court of Cassation and Justice judges, however, had a different opinion on Dragnea’s allegedly illegal imprisonment. They have rejected Dragnea’s appeal as “unfounded” and notified the Constitutional Court about the difficulties encountered due to Article 598 in the Criminal Procedure code, which opens the door to such challenges.

Dragnea’s video hearing was marked by technical difficulties; the sound was bad, according to his lawyer.

In the appeal documentation submitted to the court, Dragnea’s lawyers argued that the judges of the Supreme Court finalizing Dragnea’s sentence were not specialized in judging acts of corruption. Apparently, the High Court of Cassation and Justice judges had a different view on the matter.

Title image: Liviu Dragnea was sentenced last May to three years and six months imprisonment

Author: István Fekete