General Who Sentenced Ceausescu Kills Himself

<i> Associated Press</i>

The head of the military tribunal that condemned Communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife to death has committed suicide, officials said today.

Maj. Gen. Gica Popa shot himself in the head Thursday at his office in the Ministry of Justice, Justice Minister Teofil Pop told a news conference.

Popa was rushed to the Bucharest military hospital, where he died two hours later with his wife and daughter by his side. The military officer left a suicide note that asked for forgiveness, but did not explain the motive for his act.

Pop said the suicide was the result of a “very grave depression” and said “it is possible” that it was related to the Ceausescu trial.

A source close to the family, however, said Popa had been troubled by anonymous death threats, apparently from Ceausescu loyalists, for the last two months.


The justice minister also confirmed that Popa’s voice was the one heard on the video-recording of the Dec. 25 trial of Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, which was broadcast repeatedly on Romanian and international television.

The angry voice was heard interrogating the pair and then announcing that they had been sentenced to death for crimes against the Romanian people. The couple was then executed.