All the 25 defendants, accused of trafficking almost 200 kids from Tandarei [a small town in Ialomita County, Romania] were acquitted. Yesterday, the Court of Appeal at Targu Mures gave the final, albeit scandalous decision in this sordid case. Not only that, but the now acquitted culprits aim to sue the Romanian state at the European Court for Human Rights. Nine years ago, this case shocked the country as well as the European Union.
The case from Tandarei caught much attention in 2010, after footage and pictures with the trafficked kids were aired on international news channels. The investigation targeted 181 gypsy kids in the United Kingdom, who were used by their handlers to make money for them through stealing and begging. In England, 120 traffickers were caught and arrested. In contrast, back in Romania, a portion of those arrested and prosecuted were released just after a couple of months. Among the crimes involved we count: child trafficking, money laundering, constituting a criminal enterprise, and illegal possession of firearms.
The Tandarei case was delayed over and over again for nine years, six of which by the Harghita Tribunal [where 54 showings took place!], with the clear aim in mind to allow enough time to pass so that the deeds could be prescribed [statute of limitations].
Bernie Gravett, the British policeman who worked alongside the Romanian police on this case, was left perplexed after hearing that Romanian judges acquitted all 25 culprits, with the motivation that “no crime existed.”
Gravett commented the following, “I’m extremely sad for the victims, their families, and for the policemen with whom I worked for five years on this case in Romania. All their efforts were in vain. I can’t tell whether it’s the fault of the system, the court, or the prosecutors. All I can say is that, in my opinion, there was proof. I gave proof to the Romanian prosecutors regarding the exploitation of these 181 children from Tandarei through forced labor here in Great Britain. More so, I gave them evidence on money laundering, because all the revenue made in the UK was sent in Romania. The searches done in Tandarei, in April 2010, found money, gold, stolen goods, expensive cars, an inexplicable wealth, and many firearms. The searches were filmed. How can the court say there was no proof? […] I wonder how it’s possible that the British prosecuted and condemned 120 members of the same gang, while the Romanians condemned nobody. Europol deemed the group from Tandarei as the biggest human trafficking group in Europe. The kids were taken in every EU country and were exploited all the way from the streets of Norway to the Mediterranean coast. The 25 suspects handled the child trafficking in the whole of Europe. In my eyes, they were the network’s spear tip, and there was enough evidence for a sentence. If we had brought and prosecuted them here in Great Britain, they would have been in jail long ago.”
To those NGOs, politicians, and activists in Romania, who have an unhealthy love for Romanian magistrates, seeing them as angels, and who oppose any legislative effort to bring crooked judges to account and answer for their crimes – to them I say… “F… Y..!”
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.