Treatment of homosexuals in Romanian prisons and, in particular, homosexuals who have been sentenced under Emergency Ordinance No. 112/2001 (2001-2003) [ROM40840.E]

Correspondence sent to the Research Directorate by the Vice-Chair of APADOR-CH, a Romanian human rights organization, states that

[t]he question about treatment of homosexuals in prison is a difficult one. If you refer to the attitude of the wardens towards them, then as far as we know there are no cases of discrimination or degrading treatment (or at least we did not hear about such cases). We have heard about a few cases of inmates who complained against other inmates about sexual harassment or even rape. We know that the alleged victims were moved to other cells as a protection. But we also know that such complaints are very rare, most probably for fear of reprisals from other prisoners (22 Jan. 2003).

However, in an interview with the Executive Director of ACCEPT, Romania's first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organization, a gay man tells his story of sexual abuse at the hospital prison at Jilava, including the prison guards' alleged compliance with the abuse (ACCEPT Jan. 2003a). Please refer to the attached document of January 2003 for the complete interview. The man was imprisoned in Romania for almost ten years; he was initially sentenced to prison in 1993 under Article 200 of Romania's Penal Code3/4a law that criminalized homosexuality3/4and later under charges of theft until he was released in December 2002 (ibid.). The following information on the repeal of Article 200 may also be of interest.

After the 2002 repeal of Romania's Article 200 of the Penal Code, Adrian Coman, the former Executive Director of ACCEPT said:

In January 2002, the notorious Article 200 ... which criminalizes same-sex relations, was finally repealed and Romania's criminal law was freed from discriminatory provisions against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) people. At the time of repeal, an anti-discrimination law was also adopted, thereby providing protection against discrimination based on various grounds, including sexual orientation. A law banning discrimination based on gender was adopted as well, but legal interpretation inclusive of transgendered people is yet to be established (AI n.d.).

While the repeal of Article 200 ensures legal rights for LGBT people, Coman maintained that it would be a long time before Romanian social and cultural attitudes caught up to the law (ibid.). Please refer to the attached draft report of 28 January 2003 produced by ACCEPT entitled "Discrimination on Sexual Orientation Grounds in Romania/2002" for further information on the everyday attitudes and treatment of LGBT people in Romania.

The Vice-Chair of APADOR-CH pointed out in correspondence that Emergency Ordinance No. 112/2001 had been approved by Parliament and is now Law 252/2002 (APADOR-CH 22 Jan. 2003). Unable to provide any specific information regarding individuals who were charged under the Law, she stated that "[t]he only 100% reliable information about its application relat[e]s to the successive groups of Romanians who were expelled from Switzerland last fall. ... In 36 cases, the travelling documents were suspended for up to 5 years on [the] basis of court decisions" (ibid.). Moreover, the Executive Director of ACCEPT similarly stated that he did not have any information regarding homosexuals who have been sentenced under Law 252/2002 (28 Jan. 2002c).

For further information regarding Law 252/2002, please refer to ROM40416.E of 21 November 2002 and ROM40841.E of 22 January 2003.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


ACCEPT. January 2003a. "Interview of Florin Buhuceanu, Executive Director of ACCEPT, with Ovidiu Chetea, a gay formerly imprisoned under article 200 of the Romanian Penal Code." Correspondence sent by the Executive Director.

_____. 28 January 2003c. Correspondence sent by the Executive Director.

ACCEPT is the first Romanian non-governmental organisation that defends and promotes the rights of LGBT (lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transsexuals) at the national level.
Objectives: defending, by all legal means, the persons whose fundamental rights and liberties, as guaranteed by the Romanian Constitution and the international treaties ratified by Romania, were infringed upon; educating the public and the media on LGBT; organizing activities to promote the observance of the rights and liberties of LGBT people; increasing group solidarity among the LGBT community members; collaborating with organizations that promote the rights of minorities; developing services that address the specific needs of the LGBT in Romania (ACCEPT 2002).

_____. 2002. "About ACCEPT." [Accessed 21 Jan. 2003]

Amnesty International (AI). n.d. Adrian Coman. "Romania: Dignity, at Last." [Accessed 21 Jan. 2003]

Association for the Defence of Human Rights in Romania - the Helsinki Committee (APADOR-CH). 22 January 2003. Correspondence sent by the Vice-Chair.

Established in 1990, APADOR-CH ... is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation that strives to change both the legislation and the mentalities in the field of civil rights, stress being laid on individual freedom, the right to privacy, fair trial, access to information, etc. and on the rights of minorities (APADOR-CH n.d.).

_____. n.d. "APADOR-CH Presentation." [Accessed 21 Jan. 2003]


ACCEPT. January 2003a. "Interview of Florin Buhuceanu, Executive Director of ACCEPT, with Ovidiu Chetea, a gay formerly imprisoned under article 200 of the Romanian Penal Code." Correspondence sent by the Executive Director.

_____. 28 January 2003b. Draft Report. "Discrimination on Sexual Orientation Grounds in Romania/2002." Correspondence sent by the Executive Director.

Additional Sources Consulted

IRB Databases


Internet sites, including:

Amnesty International (AI)

European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE)

Human Rights Watch (HRW)

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC)

International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA)

Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)

Romani CRISS

World News Connection (WNC)