The wave of protests began on Monday, July 11 at the prison in Iasi. Prisoners broke the wire netting on the windows, set the mattresses on fire and managed to get on the roof. 500 prisoners from the respective prison have previously announced that they are on hunger strike. The prison management sought help from the gendarmerie special forces to hold prisoners under control. 

The riot of the inmates from Iasi expanded quickly to other detention centres in Romania. Thus, on Thursday, July 14, protests were held in 19 prisons in the country. Prisoners showed their dissatisfaction with the detention conditions. In some prisons, they refuse to eat, while in others they prove to be violent.

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However, after several discussions with the administration of the detention centres and the representatives of the National Administration of Penitentiaries (ANP), some convicts gave up the riots. 

According to the NAP, on July 15, the protests continued in 13 prisons: in Iaşi, Botoşani and Focşani several prisoners climbed the rooftop of the detainment section, while inmates from other prisons refused the food.

Besides, several prisoners from Oradea, Vaslui, Jilava, Tulcea, Bistriţa, Aiud, Bacău, Arad, Târgu Mureş and Brăila protest by refusing the food, according to the NAP.

The National Administration of Penitentiaries announces that on Friday the situation in the penitentiaries was the following:
• Iaşi Penitentiary — 3 prisoners protest on the rooftop of the detainment section, 231 prisoners refused the food.
• Botoşani Penitentiary — 6 protest on the rooftop of the detainment section, 220 prisoners refused the food.
• Oradea Penitentiary — there are no manifestations, 7 prisoners refused the food.
• Vaslui Penitentiary — there are no manifestations, 12 prisoners refused the food.
• Bucureşti Jilava Penitentiary — there are no manifestations, 3 prisoners refused the food.
• Tulcea Penitentiary — there are no manifestations, 172 prisoners refused the food.
• Bistriţa Penitentiary — there are no manifestations, 47 prisoners refused the food.
• Aiud Penitentiary — there are no manifestations, 9 prisoners refused the food.
• Bacău Penitentiary — there are no manifestations, 36 prisoners refused the food.
• Arad Penitentiary — there are no manifestations, one prisoner refused the food.
• Târgu Mureş Penitentiary — there are no manifestations, 5 prisoners refused the food.
• Brăila Penitentiary — there are no manifestations, 5 prisoners refused the food.
• Focşani Penitentiary — one prisoner refused the food

The reaction of officials on the wave of protests: Some leave, others come

The Justice Minister does not allow herself to be persuaded by the grievances of prisoners. Raluca Prună transmitted the prisoners that she will not make any decisions under pressure: "I hope they see me telling them that to continue and escalate the tensions does not serve to anyone. I understand the impatience; I assure those in detention that we work on finding solutions. The escalation of tension in prisons will not lead to the adoption of hasty measures, I will not take any measure under pressure", said Prună for a local television.

However, the protests of inmates shaken certain chairs. On July, 14 the director of the National Administration of Penitentiaries, Claudiu Bejan announced that he would retire as of August 1.


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Friday afternoon, the Minister of Justice said that Claudiu Bejan will be replaced by Marius Vulpe, the Director of Iasi Penitentiary.

 „I decided to appoint an interim director at the NAP, starting from 1 August, Marius Vulpe, the director of Iasi Penitentiary. He is a prison director for 10 years now. I’ve got to know Mr. Vulpe during the visits that I have made in many prisons; I think the experience will help him be a good manager of NAP. At this moment, we have a general manager in the person of Mr. Bejan. ", said the Minister of Justice to Realitatea TV.

Gigi Becali is on prisoners’ side  

The owner of the football club Steaua, Gigi Becali claims that prison conditions are not the main problem. 


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Becali mentioned for that such rights of the prisoners as the lack of information or prohibition of visits are violated. 

” When I was speaking, you thought I was crazy. I said that my soul screams of pain for what is happening in prisons and no one believed me then. Well, now that you've realized that I was right then, better late than never ... No prisoner out of 20,000 was at home over three years, not a day, not as the law says. And then what do these people do? I have lived, I felt and I saw these things. A man who spent two years without a woman, without his wife, that man is no longer a man, he’s dog, a destroyed dog... In which European country are we, where people sleep with rats, cockroaches and misery? They say we have no money", said Becali.

Experts: The protests in prisons are supported by certain media outlets

In an interview for, Dumitraşcu Sorin, former director of the National Administration of Penitentiaries, currently an expert in prisons in European programs noted that "we have come here because of media pressure created by media trusts sponsored or funded by current inmates. It is known that before these reactions of prisoners there were true media campaigns on the situation of prisons and it was created an expectation among prisoners on a potential amnesty and pardon. It is true that it is necessary to improve prison conditions for both prisoners and staff. But if the detention conditions are the reason for the protests, the destruction and burning of things are not an argument in this respect.”

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However Dumitraşcu also said that such riots took place in 1989, when prisoners took advantage of the weakening of state authority and tried to break free. There were riots in 2005 and 2006 on the background of some manipulations of the detainees in order to exert pressure for amnesty and pardon.

According to the press over the Prut prisons in Romania exceeded by 50 percent the maximum capacity for accommodation provided by the ECHR regulations, which set a minimum space of at least four square meters per inmate, so although the rooms in the penitentiary system could accommodate a maximum of 18,800 prisoners, currently there are over 28 thousand prisoners in the custody of the National Administration of Penitentiaries. 

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