How Romania’s inhumane prison system led to the tragic death of a campaigning newspaper owner


Dan Adamescu who dies this week after falling seriously ill in an inhumane Romanian prison system.



Earlier this month this blog covered the plight of Alexander Adamescu, the joint owner of Romania’s oldest newspaper, who is facing extradition from the UK on what are seen as trumped up charges of bribery using the European Arrest Warrant.

His father, Dan, who was the co-owner of Romania Libera, Romania’s oldest newspaper was in prison serving a four year sentence on similar charges and his family were planning to fight the state over the way they are trying to close down his companies.

Now tragically his father has died – after a short period in hospital – one of a large number of people who die every year because of the notorious nature of the Romanian prison regime.


His son Alexander states :“On January 24, right after midnight, Dan Adamescu, aged 68, died in a hospital in Bucharest, without having his family close to him. Sentenced on June 5, 2014 following a trial that relied on false testimonies, he was consecutively imprisoned in 3 penitentiaries, where his health status became increasingly serious. Hospitalized in his last months of his life – which he spent being intubated and in semi-inducted coma – the 15 diseases he had made his body become more and more weak, and the deadly blow was given by the pathogenic bacterium called Staphylococcus aureus, with which he was contaminated in the inhuman conditions from the prison”

He mentions that his father went through difficult moments in the penitentiaries where he was imprisoned, given his health status.

“Jailed in unspeakable conditions in the Remand Center – 6 to 8 detainees in a cell of a few sq. m. at the basement, without closets, without room to move, with Turkish toilet – and not once, because of the atrophied muscles and of his ill knee, he felt I his own excrements – jailed for 23 of 24 hours – because he was allowed to go out for 1 hour, in the 30 sq. m. called “outdoor” (actually, a closed room of approx. 30 sq. m., having grids instead of the ceiling, extremely dirty) – he was moved later to the Rahova Penitentiary, where he shared a cell with 6 detainees, but because of his sharpened health status and of his inability to move, he remained permanently blocked in the cell.

Besides, for some bureaucratic reason, the treatment that he needed desperately wasn’t administered for 37 days, although medicines have been brought by my aunt, and his life was in real danger. Moving him to the Jilava Penitentiary was a new ordeal for my father… so he went from here to the Floreasca Emergency Clinical Hospital, directly in syncope; only after 10 days of medical care his vital functions have been restored, following a serious infection spread throughout his body” .

The issue of prison conditions in Romania- where nearly 500 people have died over the last five years often due to the lack of medical treatment –  has already been challenged in the High Court in London by the international human rights lawyer, Ben Emmerson ( who also represented Alexander Livenenko’s widow in the recent public inquiry into his poisoning by plutonium). He has taken up the cases of other people being extradited by the Romanians and the prison.

Romania’s cramped and unsanitary prison conditions mean that pre-trial detention has also become a kind of punishment. Prison standards are so bad that between 1998 and 2015, the European Court of Human Rights found Romania guilty of 178 violations of Article 3 of the ECHR prohibiting inhuman or degrading treatment. The court recorded 27 violations in 2015.

This sad end  to his father’s life strongly adds to the need for some action to stop the extradition of his son who blames the Romanian authorities for his early death.


8 thoughts on “How Romania’s inhumane prison system led to the tragic death of a campaigning newspaper owner

  1. I thought that being in the EU that organisation ought to be in a position to ensure that members adhere to proper standards ,acceptable to civilised nations, as regards prisons, hospitals and other public services. But apparently not .It really makes one wonder what the EU thinks its work should be;instead of interfering in all sorts of trivial ways in countries well able to look after themselves eg daft notices required to be put on British farm gates. trivial, but a waste of money. Any funds Eu has should be best used to help such poor nations like Romania ;I believe Greece is also a very deprived country..
    No ofcourse Mr. Adamescu must be allowed to stay in this country ,it would obviously be quite wrong to force him to return to Romania. He can surely fight for human rights in his own country better from here; in this country at least we have a free Press still. People like you should fight to
    keep our Newspapers free to reveal to the general public the scandals still taking place ,not only here but in other countries as Romnia.


  2. State trying to close his companies?

    Dan Adamescu was sentenced for bribing judges in a big corruption case. One judge was sentenced to 12 years.
    Don’t try to victimize someone who was sentenced for fraud and corruption.
    Dan Adamescu was yet another press dubious moguls, he made a fortune estimated at 700 Millions euros, but he wasn’t willing to pay taxes…


      • What do you mean “work from website?” “True identity”
        I stumbled on your post and website by accident.
        But does it even matter?

        Dana Adamescu was a dubious press mogul like few more others here, who made hundreds of millions of euros and dollars after communist regime collapsed in ’89. There’s nothing wrong with entrepreneurs making fortunes, but these guys have little to do with true entrepeneurship. They built an empire on theft and fraud, I am sorry for his family for their loss but I m not sorry for the sentenced he got, he deserved it. I hope the miracle with the awakening of justice continues, it’s been shaking off a bunch of thieves for some years now.


  3. One more thing: Dan Adamescu was ill and in a bad shape before and during the trial.
    The current left regime Social Democrat Party winner of election for Parliament from 2 months ago(they bribed population promising bigger sallaries) is tryung to adopt a law these days to reduce sentences significantly, because many of their people were sentenced.


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