Truth and Justice: Romania’s Wrongly Accused

Lorelei Mihala Iasi, Bucharest, El Hierro

Romania has the worst record for unfair trials in the European Union. With the justice system mired in controversy, ordinary victims of judicial errors face an uphill struggle.

After being acquitted for a crime she did not commit, Daniela Tarau set up an association to help victims of judicial errors. Photo: Robert Kallos

When police surrounded his home on a crisp January morning, Petrica Manolachi knew it was all over.

The 29-year-old handyman had been in hiding for the past six years, unable to face returning to prison for a robbery he did not commit. But now officers were entering his home in the northeastern Romanian city of Iasi, pushing away his girlfriend and crying baby, slapping on handcuffs.

“I just couldn’t believe you could be arrested for something you didn’t do,” recalled Manolachi, now 39. “It was like in the movies when someone is fighting justice.”

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