The Romanian government revealed false and damaging information about a man who was trying to prove in court that he had been politically persecuted under communism.
In 1993, a Romanian court recognised that Aurel Rotaru had been jailed for his political activities as a young man. It awarded him compensation under a new law allowing victims of communist-era political repression to get justice.
However, as part of their defence, government lawyers had produced a letter from the Romanian Intelligence Service (RIS) saying that Aurel had once been part of a fascist student group.
Aurel said the claim was nonsense. He took legal action to try to get the file corrected or destroyed, and for compensation for the harm caused to him.
The Romanian courts initially decided that the RIS could not be blamed for simply having inherited the old communist-era records.
But after Aurel turned to the European Court of Human Rights, the Romanian government carried out further checks with the RIS. It turned out they had made a mistake. The information was false.
In 1997, a Romanian court overturned the previous decisions relating to Aurel’s legal action against the RIS but did not award him any compensation.