The Bucharest Tribunal decided on Monday that former Romanian PM Adrian Nastase, who had been sentenced to two years in a corruption case, may leave on parole. The decision was taken by two judge votes against one. The former prime minister will be freed from Jilava penitentiary.
The panel of judges who analysed an appeal by National Anticorruption Department (DNA) prosecutors to a previous decision to parole Nastase was formed of judges Ioana CLeopatra SIpoteanu, Carmen Constanta Balaci and Florentina Vasilateanu. The latter two replaced two other judges who were arrested on Friday under bribery charges in a separate case.
The name of Ioana Sipoteanu appears in the case submitted by prosecutors for the arrest of the two judges last Friday, while Florentina Vasilateanu is the wife of a Bucharest Bar lawyer, Catalin Vasilateanu, who had been sentenced to prison under traffic of influence charges.
Adrian Nastase, who served as prime minister in the Social Democratic government of 2000-2004, was sentenced and sent to jail in June 2012. On his leaving his home for the penitentiary, he claimed to have attempted suicide and spent some time in a Bucharest hospital, but he was eventually sent to the Jilava penitentiary.
He was sentenced in a fund raising corruption case related to the period when he served as prime minister. He has always claimed that the case was politically motivated and he and his supporters - including media channels close to the current governing coalition of Social Democrats and Liberals - have blamed President Traian Basescu for the sentence.
For the past years, Basescu has been blamed by his now-in-government opponents for the activities of anti-corruption bodies and changes in Romania's judiciary which, supported by a series of high-level sentences such as Nastase's, drew praise from the European Union.