Tudorel Toader, former Minister of Justice between 2017 and 2019, filed a new lawsuit against a press website and a journalist. In an action filed yesterday, at the Iași Court, Toader went against the journalist Marian Păvălașc and the press trust Radio Europa Liberă – Radio Free Europa/Radio Liberty Inc through its representative Radio Europa Liberă – Non-profit Organization RFE/RL Inc. It is the second trial of this kind started by Toader at this court, after the one in November, in which the defendants are the Deutsche Welle trust and the journalist George Arun.
In both situations, Toader’s dissatisfaction was caused by the fact that the two sites published articles in which the authors attributed to him, for the period in which he was Minister of Justice, the authorship of the final form of the Compensatory Appeal Law. This document, adopted in 2017, allowed the early release of many criminals whose sentences were reduced due to poor prison conditions.
In the material entitled “Country in service. The horrors of prisons. What (didn’t) Romania respect from the ECHR decision regarding the torture of detainees”, incriminated by Toader and published by Marian Păvălașc on January 6, 2022, on the website of Radio Europa Liberă Romania https://romania.europalibera.org/a/31641022. html, she wrote that “Minister of Justice at that time was Tudorel Toader. He proposed an investment plan immediately after the ECHR decision, which was never respected according to trade unionists in the system.
Instead, Tudorel Toader found an ingenious solution that benefited every Romanian prisoner who had received a sentence from 2012 until 2017. As a reward for the torturous conditions in the penitentiary, each prisoner received practically a reduced sentence. (…) The compensatory appeal imposed by Tudorel Toader did not improve life behind bars. On the contrary, the trade unionists in the system support it.”
Over time, the former minister contested the fact that he contributed to the inclusion of the controversial provisions in the law, a situation which, by the way, Păvălașc mentioned in his article: “Tudorel Toader always explained that the compensatory appeal project is not of him, but had been initiated by the technocrat government led by Dacian Cioloș, during 2015-2016.”
The subject of Toader’s lawsuit is a “declaratory action,” through which the plaintiff can obtain the removal of an article from a site and/or damages. The first term of the file has not yet been established. Contacted by G4Media.ro, Toader did not answer the questions.
“Free Europe has not received any notification regarding the existence of a legal action filed by Mr. Tudorel Toader. Nor have we received any information or right of reply from his lordship in regard to any of our articles. We hope that the approach of the former Minister of Justice, Tudorel Toader, aims to clarify certain situations and is not a form of pressure on the free press in Romania”, said Ionuț Benea, editor-in-chief of Europa Liberă.
At the end of November, Toader filed another lawsuit, caused by the same reason, against the Deutsche Welle trust and the journalist George Arun. In the online edition, in Romanian, of this publication, Arun had written, on July 2, 2022, that “According to the data provided by the Ministry of Justice, 16,200 prisoners were released from prisons based on Law no. 169/2017 regarding the compensatory appeal, a law promoted by the former Minister of Justice Tudorel Toader in the PSD government.”
Both media organizations in Tudorel Toader’s crosshairs are owned/financed by Western states. According to information on its own website, the Romanian edition of Radio Europa Liberă is part of an independent media company funded by the United States Congress, through the United States Agency for Global Media, and “broadcasts to 23 countries in 25 of languages.”
The Deutsche Welle Trust is owned by the German state. It has approximately 4,000 employees in 140 countries and produces radio and television broadcasts, as well as content for analysis and commentary sites available in 32 languages.
Both Radio Europa Liberă and Deutsche Welle have news, analysis and investigation sites in Romania.