Romania: The failing state on our doorstep



While politicians and security specialists scramble to mitigate the dangers posed by Russia and China, a threat closer to home and with the political and legal links more appropriate for a like-minded ally slips under the radar. 

EU member state Romania has gone rogue, with its renamed but essentially unreformed secret police running riot through every level and branch of government, corrupt prosecutors faking evidence and intimidating witnesses to build cases against political targets, and crackdowns on the media to suppress free speech. 

This is the subject of a report,published last month by The Freedom Association and the Centre for Research into Post-Communist Economies, which digs deep into the shadowy corners of Romania that European authorities work so hard to ignore. 

In ‘Romania Country Report: Is Romania a Failing State?’ we learn that ‘secret protocols’ have been in operation for years, allowing intelligence services to interfere in the General Prosecutor’s office, directing criminal investigations against political targets and creating ‘evidence’ when none could be found legitimately. There have been multiple instances of media owners being jailed on fabricated charges when they refused to hand over control of their outlets, as well as judges being threatened with charges – and indeed jailed – when they refused to cooperate with the show trials demanded by Romanian spies. 

Beyond this chilling corruption Romania’s failings extend to practically every other part of its state machinery, with the worst human rights record in the EU, a quarter of its population wanting to flee, and an economy and infrastructure that lag well behind 21st century standards. 

It is clear that Romania has barely evolved from its communist past, with only a thin veneer of democracy enough to convince EU authorities that its institutions and leaders can be trusted with the open door and all too often open chequebook that membership of the EU provides. 

It is against this backdrop that London resident Alexander Adamescu continues his fight against extradition under an abusive European Arrest Warrant (EAW), in a case so outrageous that it’s difficult to believe it wasn’t thrown out of court long ago. 

Alexander’s father, Dan Adamescu, was one of the entrepreneurs that helped to bring some progress and prosperity to the ravaged country after the fall of communism. As Dan’s business interests expanded to include the democracy-campaigning, corruption-exposing newspaper Romania Libera he came into conflict with the ruling socialists, sparking a feud that led to fabricated charges, a show trial, detention in medieval prison conditions, denial of medical care, and Dan’s death in 2014. 

The political feud followed his son, Alexander, to London, where he was studying to become a playwright. The long arm of the Romanian intelligence services extended across the EU, using an EAW to compel officers from the Metropolitan Police to arrest Alexander in June 2016, moments before he was due to speak at an event at London’s Frontline Club about the implications of the treatment of his father for free speech in Romania. 

After years of hearings, delays and appeals, Adamescu is now reaching the end of his legal battle against the EAW. His only remaining hope is that the Home Secretary will step in and grant humanitarian protection, a type of asylum. 

The failings of the EAW have been well-canvassed over the years, with its foundation of blind trust and almost non-existent protections leaving it open to abuse by sub-standard European criminal justice systems, but the Romanian example exposes yet another weakness that only the intervention of Priti Patel can correct. 

The absence of the rule of law and any kind of protection for whistleblowers, along with Romanian intelligence services willing to go to any lengths to suppress the truth, mean that while a huge body of evidence exists to exonerate Adamescu, it cannot be heard in open court in London. 

This evidence has been pulled together and analysed by intelligence experts from the UK and Germany, experienced in separating truth from lies and working with people in fear for their lives. They have concluded that the Adamescus were targeted because of political differences, even pin-pointing the meeting between politicians, spies and prosecutors where the decision was taken to bring them down at any cost. 

Anonymous sources terrified of meeting a similar fate to that of Dan Adamescu have been identified at every step, explaining how the case was fabricated and prosecuted, as well as the ideological political motivation behind the decisions. 

This evidence, by its nature second-hand, has been dismissed as hearsay by British judges unused to dealing with the shadowy inner workings of communistic states, but can – and should – be considered in full by Priti Patel and her officials. The experts responsible, including former MI6 chief Sir John Scarlett, stand ready to explain why their evidence can be relied upon. 

With this decision Patel has the opportunity not only to save the innocent life of one man, but to draw a line in the sand, making it clear that post-Brexit Britain will no longer be at the mercy of the blind eye of EU officials and failing socialist states, and will not allow the dangerous practices common to Russia, China and Romania to continue extending unchecked onto our shores. 

Emily Barley is chairman of campaign group Conservatives for Liberty, and a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate. Follow her on twitter: @ThinkEmily