DNA tests are being carried out on the remains of two bodies taken from the graves of Romania’s former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena.
The corpses were exhumed following a request from relatives who have challenged official claims the couple were buried in the cemetery in Bucharest.
The Ceausescus’ son-in-law Mircea Opran is threatening to sue the state if the bodies cannot be positively identified.
Bucharest resident Gheorghe Parvu said: “I think it’s strange they have dug him up now, after 20 years. They had to hide something. Why didn’t they allow this until now? His children asked for exhumation a long time ago, to see if it is him in this grave or not.”
Sanda Buchila, another Bucharest resident said:
“I’m regretting that he is not existing. I’m regretting that they killed him. He succeeded to pay back all Romania’s debts and after that they kicked him out.”
Ceausescu ruled Romania from 1965 until he and his wife were forced to flee Bucharest in the face of mass protests marking the fall of communism in the southeast European country.
They were summarily executed at an army base near the town of Targoviste, some 80 kilometres north west of the capital giving rise to speculation the graves in Bucharest did not really contain the deposed couple’s remains.