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Romanian President Says Communist Regime 'Criminal'

Traian Basescu (file photo) (epa) BUCHAREST, December 18, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Romanian President Traian Basescu today presented to parliament a report denouncing the former communist regime as "illegal and criminal," RFE/RL's Romania-Moldova Service reports.

Basescu, in presenting the 650-page report, accused the communist regime of gross violations of human rights.

"For the citizens of Romania, communism was a regime imposed on them by a political grouping that claimed to own the truth, a totalitarian regime that was born through violence and came to an end through violence," he said. "It was an oppressive regime that deprived the Romanian nation of five decades of modern history, that broke the law and forced the citizens to live in lies and in fear."

Ultranationalist hecklers interrupted Basescu with jeers.

The officially commissioned report was drafted by a team led by University of Maryland professor Vladimir Tismaneanu. It details communist-era crimes, including the repression of dissidents and religious groups, censorship, starving the population, and confiscating or demolishing the homes of hundreds of thousands of people.

Basescu backed the panel's recommendation to establish a national day commemorating victims of communism.

If approved by lawmakers, it would be the first official
condemnation of communism in Romania, where the dictator Nicolae
Ceausescu was overthrown and executed in 1989 after 45 years in power.

Former Polish President Lech Walesa and Romania's King Michael are expected to attend the parliamentary session.

(with material from AP)

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