Grave of Romanian dictator dug up

ITN News

by ITN News

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The graves of Romania's former communist dictator Nicolae Ceausescu and his wife Elena have been exhumed for DNA tests.

Ceausescu ruled Romania from 1965 until he and Elena were captured and shot by firing squad in 1989 after fleeing mass protests in Bucharest, marking the fall of communism in the eastern European country.

The execution took place at an army base near the town of Targoviste and the bodies were buried without fanfare, causing some to doubt whether the graves in Bucharest really contain their remains.

Mircea Opran, the husband of the Ceausescus' late daughter Zoia, said: "The exhumation takes place today and we're taking samples of the remains for examination. The rest will be put back in the grave."

After the execution Mr Opran said he was more inclined to believe the remains are indeed those of the former dictator and his wife. He said he saw bullet holes in clothes they found in Ceausescus' grave.

Forensic experts estimate it could take weeks or months for the DNA test results to be completed.