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Video Faked, Experts Say; Ceausescus Killed Earlier

From Associated Press

A Romanian government videotape purporting to show the execution of Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife, Elena, is faked in part, forensic experts here believe.

After examining a 90-minute tape shown last week on French television, the scientists doubt the official claim that the couple were killed by firing squad. Instead, they say the couple were apparently killed hours earlier with gunshots in the head.

The Communist dictator and his wife were tried and executed Dec. 25.

Dr. Loic le Ribault, director of a private criminal science laboratory in Bordeaux, said Sunday that the only signs of fatal wounds on the bodies were in the right temples, indicating that the Ceausescus had been shot in the head.

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In the tape, the Ceausescus, hands tied behind their backs, appear in the video to have been gunned down with automatic weapons. But the camera angle is too low and the lens is obscured by gun smoke, preventing a clear look at the couple being shot, experts say.

Later footage shows a medic checking Elena Ceausescu for signs of life as she lies in a stream of blood pouring from a wound in her head.

Le Ribault and others say the state of the bodies shows that the Ceausescus died hours before the medic checked them. The corpses were stiff with rigor mortis, and there was virtually no sign of blood on Nicolae Ceausescu.

Also, the bullet holes on the brick wall behind the couple are too low for a firing squad theoretically aiming at the chest, Le Ribault said.

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The director of Free Romanian Television, Razvan Theodorescu, defended the authenticity of the tape and called it a historic document.


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