Romania's National Council against Discrimination (CNCD) has decided to fine President Klaus Iohannis with RON 2,000, charging him with discrimination when he used the word "penal" in a public speech. The President called the fine a political decision which would be challenged in court.


The CNCD decided with 5 votes in favor and 4 against that the use of the term was discriminatory. Earlier this year, when he used a speech to defend the National Anti-Corruption Directorate (DNA) and its chief prosecutor Laura Codruta Kovesi, Iohannis said "Some penal people are desperately trying to attack and discredit the DNA".

The CNCD, whose members are politically named, considered the use of the word "penal" in these circumstances breach the right of dignity for people who face judicial procedures without having received a criminal sentence.

The DNA is currently the target of a massive campaign by the governing coalition, led by the PSD party, who are accused of trying to undermine the fight against corruption in the country with a wave of administrative and legislative changes. The leader of the PSD himself, Liviu Dragnea, has received a sentence for electoral fraud two years ago. Many other officials of the PSD or their ALDE party allies have received corruption-related sentences or are facing criminal charges in court.