Failure of the Romanian justice system: case closed without a charge

Without one sentence as justification or charge the prosecution closed the procedure launched against Árpád Antal, mayor of Sepsiszentgyörgy/Sfântu Gheorghe – as announced during a press conference held in Sepsiszentgyörgy together with Hunor Kelemen, President of RMDSZ/Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania.

After more than three years, to be more exact after 1232 days the prosecutor noted: the exhibits confirm, that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development agreed to the way of usage of the credit, thus the central accusation according to which the money was not used properly is unfounded: so they closed the case without any charge on the 2nd of July. Árpád Antal during the press conference summarized the facts: more than eleven thousand pages of interception records, 47 people and the ones connected to them were intercepted, Árpád Antal had to check in at Bucharest headquarters the DNA/National Anti-corruption Directorate 19 times, 118 times at the Police of Kovászna/Covasna county, more restrictive measures were implemented against him.

“I was calm all along because I knew that the  truth will emerge. It was a huge life experience but I would have liked to save these precious days of my life” said the now officially innocent Árpád Antal.

In a normally functioning constitutional state the state would reimburse his legal expenses, but Romanian law do not offer this chance. “I can keep my truth as well as my losses” – Árpád Antal concluded.

Intimidation is the purpose

Three years ago at dawn gendarmes woke Árpád Antal and his family up. They had searches at 13 locations, in Kovászna és Brassó Counties, among others at the mayor’s office in Sepsiszentgyörgy, at the employees, computers, documents were collected a and they transported the mayor to Bucharest in a police led, tinted window car. They released him at dawn after an interrogation of 7 hours. They implemented restrictive measures against him, they forbid him to practice his office as mayor for two months, they forbid him for one year to leave the country and during this time he had to present himself at the police more than 100 times, some part of his fortune was blocked.

Árpád Antal emphasized: when the case popped out there were more than fifty pieces of news about it in the central press but now, when they closed it, the National Anticorruption Directorate did not give any press release, they did not notify on their website either. It is clear that in 2016 the purpose was to drive everyone’s attention to the subject. Some people wanted to intimidate the community, the mayor concluded.

They succeeded because many agencies did not appear at the public procurements fearful that they will be compromised if they have a relationship with the mayor’s office. Árpád Antal continued: in the last 15 years he was continuously intercepted. His phone calls at the office, at home, in his car and also when he ate in a restaurant were intercepted.

“Confiding citizens think that it is good thing if politicians are intercepted but the truth is they control people’s freedom based on some falsely translated records.” – he concluded.

Hungarian community under surveillance

„The Romanian state considers the Transylvanian Hungarian leading politicians as a threat to national security and they are intensively observed.” – Hunor Kelemen elaborated. The president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania emphasized: millions of euros are spent for their surveillance, their life is an open book, the purpose clearly is intimidation. These cases generally pop up close to elections or when the community faces challenges. We have learnt to live with this.” In the cases of Anna Horváth, Róbert Ráduly and Attila Markó the very same characters appeared. We know because we talk to each other.” – he added.

He also emphasized: according to the laws whenever the permit for the national security interception expires they must inform the person targeted, who may have access to the records. They have not received such a notification yet so the interception has not ended. “We’ve been challenging the constitutionality for the last few years and we are asking for the branches of power to be detached, and also for the guarantee of the independence of justice” said Hunor Kelemen. It is reassuring that the prosecutor closed Árpád Antal’s case without charges because he may have sent it forward to the court, which would have also closed it but more time could have been spent. This case proves that these politicians have clean conscience just as Anna Horváth, Róbert Ráduly and Attila Markó never did anything illegal.” – the president of the Democratic Alliance of Hungarians in Romania concluded.


Featured photo: Sepsiszentgyörgy mayor Árpád Antal (Levente Vargyasi)

Author: Blanka Székely