At least four prisoners of conscience were held. There were reports of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement officers, resulting in at least one death. There were shootings by police officers in disputed circumstances, resulting in at least one death. In January the decision of the Constitutional Court concerning Article 200, paragraph 1, of the Penal Code (see Amnesty International Report 1995) came into force allowing for the prosecution of adults who engaged in consenting homosexual relations, but only if such acts were committed in public or resulted in "public scandal". The ruling, which did not provide guidelines for applying these standards or define "public scandal", could lead to the imprisonment of adults solely for engaging in consensual homosexual relations in private. The Romanian Parliament continued to work on the revision of the Penal Code throughout the year (see Amnesty International Report 1995). It adopted an amendment to Article 200, paragraph 1, reflecting the Constitutional Court's ruling. Several other amendments approved by the Chamber of Deputies in November imposed excessive restrictions on the right to freedom of expression. However, in November the Chamber of Deputies rejected the draft law as a whole. In July a resolution of the European Parliament urged the Romanian Government to respect its obligations under international human rights treaties. The resolution also called on the Romanian Government to "abandon tolerance of nationalist violence…by ensuring that the police and security forces are no longer immune from prosecution in cases where they failed to take action against outbreaks of nationalist violence". In particular, it emphasized the need for improved human rights education of the police and security forces. In December Council of Europe rapporteurs visited Romania to assess implementation of recommendations made on Romania's admission to the organization. At least four people were imprisoned solely because of their homosexuality. They were prisoners of conscience. Valentin-Walter Stoica had been sentenced under Article 200, paragraph 1, in April 1993 to 18 months' imprisonment for engaging in a homosexual act with another prisoner with whom he shared a prison cell. He did not serve this sentence concurrently with the penalty imposed for a previous conviction for theft because of an apparent breach of criminal procedure. He was imprisoned again in August 1994 and conditionally released in April 1995. Adrian Dabija was sentenced by the court in Constanta to two years' imprisonment for engaging in a consensual homosexual act with another man in April 1994. In July Catalin Bucur and Stefan Ciocârlan were arrested in Focsani and held in preventive detention pending an investigation under Article 200, paragraph 1. In October the Ministry of Justice reported that 14 men had been imprisoned under this law during 1993 and 1994. There were frequent reports of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, although relatively few official complaints of ill-treatment were made. Investigations were seldom thorough and impartial and were often unnecessarily obstructed and prolonged by inadequate methods of gathering evidence. Prosecutors did not exercise sufficient control over police officials who participated in investigations into alleged abuses committed by their colleagues. Only rarely were cases brought to court. Two army officers were brought to trial in Bucharest in September for the killing of Andrei Frumusanu and Aurica Crainiceanu in 1991 (see Amnesty International Reports 1993 to 1995). Robert Radu was reportedly tortured during interrogation in Constanta in January. He was allegedly beaten with a club on the arms, legs and head by a police officer and suffered a fractured shin. The officer then dictated a statement, which Robert Radu wrote down, before taking him to hospital. The officer reportedly threatened to kill Robert Radu unless he said that he had injured himself falling down the stairs. The officer threatened Robert Radu on several subsequent occasions after he had filed a complaint about his torture. In April Viorel Constantin was punched and kicked by police officers and civil guards outside a bar in áandarei, Ialomita county. He had complained to one of the civil guards who several days earlier had kicked his 14-year-old son, Catalin, because he did not have an identity card. According to a medical certificate, Viorel Constantin suffered multiple bruising and scratches on the chest and the back, a cracked collar-bone and a ruptured ear-drum. In July in the village of Gura Vaii a police officer arrested 16-year-old Gabriel Mitu on suspicion of theft. Alfred Pana, the boy's stepfather, inquired about the reasons for the arrest and was handcuffed and taken to the Suditi police station. Gabriel Mitu was reportedly slapped and punched in the face, beaten on the hands with a rubber truncheon, and coerced into signing a confession. Gabriel Mitu later stated that before he and his stepfather were separated, he had seen his stepfather being beaten by the police chief and his assistant, who had hit Alfred Pana's head against the wall. When they were released the following day, Alfred Pana's head was bruised and his face was smeared with blood. He complained of headaches and abdominal pains and several witnesses confirmed that he also had difficulty walking. Two days later Alfred Pana died. A nurse, accompanied by two police officers who had been involved in the ill-treatment of Alfred Pana and Gabriel Mitu, examined the body and concluded that Alfred Pana's death was caused by "a cardio-respiratory arrest, second degree hypertension and intoxication with ethyl alcohol". The police officers then made Alfred Pana's sister sign a statement renouncing the family's right to demand an autopsy. Many victims of ill-treatment were Roma. In most instances such treatment appeared to be racially motivated. Many of the victims were either not aware of their right to file complaints, or believed that to do so would only worsen their situation. Some were openly threatened by law enforcement officers. This was further compounded by a pattern of impunity for law enforcement officers responsible for ill-treating Roma or for failing to protect Roma adequately from racist violence. In May information came to light that an investigation into a violent attack by soldiers on Roma in Bucharest in 1992 (see Amnesty International Reports 1993 and 1995) concluded that "the soldiers acted in legitimate self-defence". In August the Bucharest Military Prosecutor dropped all charges against three officers for lack of evidence. They had been under investigation for their conduct during racist violence in Hadareni in September 1993 when two Roma were killed and one burned to death (see Amnesty International Reports 1994 and 1995). Indiscriminate beatings by police officers allegedly searching Roma neighbourhoods for criminal suspects were reported in March in a suburb of Bucharest, in August in Botosani and Acâs, in Satu Mare county, and in September and October in Bzlteni, in Dâmbovita county. Police officers also failed to protect Roma adequately from racist violence. In January, 20 police officers observed a group of villagers incite anti-Roma violence in Bzcu. They failed to prevent the group from setting fire to three Roma houses and destroying another house which was under construction. There was no investigation into the conduct of the police officers. The authorities stated that their intervention was "firm and adequate". There were also reports of possible excessive use of force by police officers resulting in at least one death. In January Nicolae Sebastian Balint was observed by two police officers in Bzile Herculane while allegedly trying to steal a car. When ordered to leave the vehicle, he reportedly attacked a police officer and started to run away. The officer pursued Nicolae Sebastian Balint, ordered him to stop and then fired a warning shot. The next shot hit Nicolae Sebastian Balint and he died on the way to Orsova hospital. In June Marcel Ghinea, a 17-year-old Rom, was shot and wounded by a police officer in Voluntari while allegedly attempting to steal goods from a parked vehicle. In August Marian Constantin Vosan was shot and wounded by police officers in Arad as he was running away. He had been observed by police officers holding a car wheel and ordered to give himself up. In September Mihai Ciobanu was shot three times in the thigh and foot by police officers after he was reportedly caught stealing from a car in Bucharest. Amnesty International urged members of parliament throughout the year to ensure that the revised Penal Code was consistent with Romania's legal obligations under international human rights treaties. In February Amnesty International called on President Ion Iliescu to ensure that the authorities took all necessary measures to protect Roma in Bzcu from further racist violence and to initiate an investigation into the conduct of police officers who had failed to protect Roma adequately. The organization also urged the President to initiate an independent inquiry into all incidents in which law enforcement officers had failed to adequately protect Roma lives and property in Romania since 1990. Amnesty International repeatedly called for the immediate release of prisoners detained under Article 200, paragraph 1. It urged the authorities to investigate reports of torture and ill-treatment and to bring those responsible to justice. In May Amnesty International published a report, Romania: Broken commitments to human rights, in which it made extensive recommendations regarding legislative and judicial reforms, the prevention of torture and other ill-treatment of detainees as well as the effective protection of Roma from racist violence. In October Amnesty International published a report describing the Romanian authorities' response and the organization's outstanding concerns. The authorities made public information on people imprisoned under Article 200, paragraph 1. They also responded giving information about investigations into reports of torture and ill-treatment. Following the publication of Amnesty International's report in May, the Chief of the General Police Inspectorate criticized the organization for being systematically misinformed and denied all allegations of ill-treatment or inadequate conduct by police officers. In October the authorities released reports by the Ministry of the Interior, the General Prosecutor's Office and the Ministry of Justice. In most cases of alleged torture or ill-treatment by police officers new investigations had been initiated. In one case of excessive use of force, which took place in 1994, a police officer was charged with manslaughter.

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