BUCHAREST (Reuters) – Romania will approve an emergency decree, making life imprisonment the punishment for rape and paedophilia, Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said on Thursday, days after DNA tests confirmed that a kidnapped Romanian girl had been killed.
The case has stoked public outrage and revealed deep flaws in the police system in the European Union member state.
A 65-year-old mechanic from the southern Romanian town of Caracal has confessed to killing Alexandra Macesanu, 15, who went missing on July 24, and a 18-year-old girl last seen in April.
“I have zero tolerance for lack of humanity and respect towards citizens,” Dancila told reporters, when announcing the government’s plans.
Paedophiles and rapists found guilty in Romania have faced prison sentences of up to seven years and 12 years respectively, with rapists liable to 18 years if the victim dies.
Macesanu phoned the European emergency number 112 three times to say she had been kidnapped, beaten and raped. It took authorities 19 hours to locate and enter the mechanic’s home as they struggled to trace her calls.
On site, authorities found burned bone fragments and collected DNA samples.
The authorities’ handling of the case has triggered street protests. The interior minister resigned, while the chief of Romanian police and several other officials were fired.
Prosecutors are investigating those responsible for the slow response.
(Reporting by Radu Marinas; editing by Stephen Powell)