Romanian Police Academy chiefs get suspended sentences for threatening journalist

Inquam Photos / Ilona Andrei

A Romanian court has handed down suspended jail sentences to the two former heads of the Police Academy for instructing a subordinate to threaten a journalist who was investigating plagiarism at the institution.

The former dean of Romania’s Police Academy, Adrian Iacob, and the former deputy, Mihail Marcocie each received a three-year suspended prison sentence for enjoining an officer to  blackmail Emilia Sercan, a journalist who had revealed corruption at the institution.

The Bucharest Court of Appeal on Monday ordered them to do 120 days of community work and pay compensation of 80,000 lei to the journalist. The ruling can be appealed.

In April 2019, a threatening message was sent to Ms  Sercan, who works for PressOne. She had exposed that 70% of the dean’s thesis was plagiarized  as well as other similar cases among the institution’s professors.

“We are sending this message with the aim of stopping what will follow, everything depends on you,” the text message read.  “Stop everything you are doing you don’t want a living hell,” it said.

The officers resigned from the Police Academy shortly after anti-corruption prosecutors began an investigation over the threat.

The Police Academy lost its right to award doctorates in October 2020 after Education Minister Monica Anisie ordered a restructuring of the institution.

Interior Minister Lucian Bode announced the two doctoral schools within the Police Academy would be closed down as “they have done great damage to the institution’s image”.

Ms Sercan wrote on her Facebook page : “The sentence is not final and there will be at least two years for the appeal process at the High Court of Cassation and Justice.”

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