The former Prime Minister of Romania, Adrian Nastase, is set to become the first leader from the country to serve time in prison since communism fell in 1989. Nastase’s corruption charges were upheld on Wednesday by the country’s highest court. The original decision was handed down on March 30 and it sentenced Nastase to jail for illegally raising funds for a presidential campaign that was unsuccessful.
Nastase has repeatedly said that the case is motivated by politics and has said that he will bring the case to the European Court of Human Rights. Nastase also said on Saturday that the trial, which lasted eight years, was enough of a prison sentence. Nastase joins the record books along with Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena. The two were arrested, imprisoned and then executed by a firing squad in 1989 after serving 25 years as the country’s president.
Nastase served as prime minister from 2000 to 2004 and was the head of the Social Democracy Party from 2000 to 2005. From 1990 to 1992 he served as the foreign minister and also served as parliamentary speaker.
“Of course, until the end of his life Nastase will say it is an injustice, but it is a landmark in Romanian legal history,” said journalist Cristian Tudor Popescu. “(That) people who appear to be demi-gods can actually be sent to prison.”
Nastase was found guilty by prosecutors for using fees that he charged to companies and state agencies so he could attend a conference for his presidential run in 2004. Nastase lost the runoff vote to the president, Traian Basescu.