The former president of the Social Democrat Party (PSD) who was sentenced to prison for abuse of office in 2018, has been released after Giurgiu Court granted the request for release.
In Thursday's hearing, Dragnea told the court that he had behaved well and wanted to be allowed to believe. “I carried the punishment with decency and dignity. I went to work every day I was allowed to. I participated in all the courses I was allowed to do, I never missed a day. I received rewards every month I went to work, including the last month, June “, Dragnea told the judge.
He had previously requested release back in April when he appeared via videoconference to the District 5 Court of the Capital. He stated that he felt that he had spent enough time in prison and that he had been rehabilitated. However, the prosecutor argued that Liviu Dragnea still considers that he was politically convicted and that he does not accept the fact that he violated the law.
Liviu Dragnea, was convicted on June 21st, 2018, for incitement to abuse office as chairman of the Teleorman County Council. Originally, the sentence should have lasted for 3.5 years, however, he was released after serving just 2 years and 2 months (1 year, 4 months earlier).
Liviu Dragnea has been in prison since May 27, 2019, when he was definitively sentenced by the Supreme Court to 3 years and 6 months in prison.
The former PSD leader had several conflicts with those in charge of the Rahova Penitentiary, initiating several lawsuits, on the grounds that he is not allowed to work in the prison's car workshop.
The management of the penitentiary withdrew his right to work, after Dragnea gave an online interview to his former counselor Anca Alexandrescu, a journalist at Realitatea Plus.
Subsequently, Dragnea won several lawsuits with the penitentiary, the courts establishing that several rights were violated, including the right to work and medical care.
Why is this significant?
Upon release from prison, Liviu Dragnea, made various comments regarding the current leadership of PSD, remarking, “Romania “is a dictatorship”, and the Social Democrat Party (PSD) is headed “by cowards,” . He was asked whether he would consider a political comeback, and his response was, “Only if I have the right partners and only if I have for whom.”, according to G4Media, after expressing his disappointment with the people, in general.
This is not Liviu Dragnea's first brush with the law. In 2016, he received a two-year suspended sentence for using his influence and authority in the party to obtain votes during a referendum in 2012, which saw the suspension of Traian Băsescu, the former president of Romania. Investigators claimed that Dragnea was supported in conducting fraud during the referendum by 74 presidents and members of polling stations in the Teleorman, Vrancea, Gorj and Olt counties.
Liviu Dragnea and his two children, Valentin Ștefan Dragnea and Maria Alexandra Dragnea, are banned from entering the USA for Dragnea's involvement in “significant corruption” actions.
He was also the target for allegations of corruption in September 2016. Along with other people, Liviu Dragnea allegedly obtained undue benefits from various public contracts awarded to Tel Drum, a Romanian construction company. According to DNA (Anti-corruption office), spokesperson Livia Săplăcan, “the damages (…) consist of two amounts – a damage from abuse of office, approximately 30 million lei, and a damage of 20 million euros, money obtained illegally , as a result of the fraud of European funds ”.
The release of Liviu Dragnea, whether directly responsible for various controversial actions during his time as PSD leader, or not, will likely spark some concern among the population.