Romanian professor serving eight-year prison sentence in China to be transferred to Romania

marius balo, romanian professor imprisoned in china, facebook

A Romanian university professor currently serving an eight-year prison sentence in China for receiving less than 100 U.S. dollars that resulted from fraud, will be extradited to Romania to serve the rest of his sentence at home, the justice ministry said Thursday.

For more than two years, Marius Balo was held in a 16-meter square cell with no daylight along with 12 Chinese prisoners. He was tied up and taken out twice a month by guards who coerced him into making a confession about a sum of money he had received as a professor at a Chinese university.

He was eventually convicted in March 2016 based on the testimony of someone he’d never seen and was then incarcerated in the Shanghai Maximum Security prison, according to his lawyer Eugen Iordachescu, who raised the case.

The ministry said that China had approved the transfer of Balo to Romania where he will complete the remainder of his sentence. He has already served five years.

The ministry said Balo, a professor from the Transylvanian city of Cluj, would be transferred as soon as possible.

The Cluj Court of Appeal said in a ruling in October last year that Balo should be transferred to Romania to complete his prison sentence

Balo moved to China in 2010, where he found a job at the Technology and Education group, XinDongFang, that provides private educational services,

in the Chinese capital, Beijing. He was hired as a professor at the Renmin University in Beijing in 2013.

Chinese prosecutors said he received the sum from Chinese citizens, without realizing that it came from fraud of about 260,000 euros. He said a British citizen had received the same sum of money, but had not been detained after the British embassy intervened on his behalf.

Iordachescu raised his case last year, saying Malo was forced to work 12 hours a day in prison where he was serving an eight-year sentence for “contractual fraud” with damages of 80 U.S. dollars.

“His situation was radically different. Instead of being a victim of Chinese crooks, he was considered a crook,” Iordachescu said.

Iordachescu said that Balo had spent 2 ½ years in preventive arrest in a dark, 16-meter square cell with 12 other Chinese inmates. He was tied up and taken out twice a month by prison guards who coerced him into confessing to the court “with tears in his eyes” to be treated leniently.

He was ordered to pay a fine of 61,000 lei, about 12,800 euros.

Iordăchescu criticized Romanian authorities for not acting and for “not caring about a Romanian citizen who was in a difficult position.”

It was not clear when he would arrive in Romania.




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