Romanian forensic experts have exhumed the remains of former Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena to conduct DNA tests in a bid to check whether the couple was truly buried there after their 1989 execution.
REUTERS - The graves of Romania’s former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena were dug up on Wednesday to check whether they were truly buried there, their son-in-law said.
Ceausescu ruled Romania from 1965 until he and Elena were captured and shot down by firing squad in 1989 after fleeing mass protests in Bucharest, marking the fall of communism in the southeast European country.
The execution took place at an army base near the town of Targoviste and the bodies were buried without fanfare, causing some to doubt whether the graves in Bucharest really contain their remains.
“The exhumation takes place today and we’re taking samples of the remains,” Mircea Opran, the husband of the Ceausescus’ late daughter Zoia, told television station Realitatea. Early morning TV footage showed the excavation as it was going on.
“The samples will be taken for tests and the rest will be buried,” Opran said.”I don’t know what will happen if it is discovered that the Ceausescus are not in these graves. Probably we will sue the Romanian state.”
However, Opran said after the exhumation he tended to believe the remains were indeed those of the former communist dictator and his wife, who ruled the country with an iron fist using the feared former secret police Securitate.
He said he saw bullet holes in the clothes they found in Ceausescu’s grave.
“The mystery is not elucidated. After what I saw, I tend to believe they are them. But until the DNA test is finished, I do not have a 100 percent confirmation, I am not 100 percent convinced.”
Forensic experts estimate it could take weeks or months for the DNA test results to be completed, pending on the quality of samples taken from the graves.
Date created : 2010-07-21