Romanian prosecutors on Tuesday charged Alexandru Visinescu, the commander of a Communist-era prison, with genocide. He is the first Romanian to face that charge since the dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, who was tried and executed in 1989.
Mr. Visinescu, 87, ran the Ramnicu Sarat prison in an impoverished part of eastern Romania from 1956 to 1963. Prosecutors have accused him of subjecting prisoners to beatings, denying them food and medical treatment, and exposing them to cold temperatures. Mr. Visinescu has insisted that he was following orders. If convicted, he faces life in prison.
The charges against Mr. Visinescu are part of Romania's efforts to grapple with its Communist past by bringing to justice former commanders who enabled what many consider one of Eastern Europe's most brutal police states.
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.