Monday, May 24, 2010

AP: Romania's president withdraws honour he bestowed on communist who crushed dissent

BUCHAREST, Romania - Romania's president says he regrets bestowing a military honour on a former communist official who served prison time for ordering the deadly 1981 crackdown on a bus full of Romanians attempting to flee the country.

George Homostean, a former interior minister, served just 14 months of a 14-year sentence before he was given amnesty in 2002. He is also blamed for dissident Gheorghe Ursu's death in 1985 after repeated beatings in prison.

President Traian Basescu says he did not check Homostean's file when he was nominated for the award by the National Association of War Veterans. Basescu said Friday he regretted giving Homostean the honour in April.

Homostean was interior minister from 1979 to 1987.

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