The Bucharest Tribunal was judging on Monday an appeal by businessman Gigi Becali against a sentence by which he was imposed a 29-day preventive arrest under charges that he and his bodyguards held people captive against their will. The court session was suspended for an hour in the afternoon as lawyers of Gigi Becali - who controls the Bucharest-based football club Steaua - asked that judges be replaced. The call was rejected and the session moved on in the afternoon.

Becali is now under arrest following a Bucharest District 1 court decision last Thursday that the businessman and four of his guards be arrested for 29 days in a case in which Becali and his men are accused of holding several men - who had stolen his car in January this year - against their will. Becali was retained on Thursday.

The issue sparked a huge wave of controversies and was covered by the media extensively as Becali is one of the most high-profile business and political personalities to face charges in Romania.

Dozens of people calling for the release of Gigi Becali were protesting before the court HQ on Monday.