Miron Cozma

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Miron Cozma (born August 25, 1954 in Derna, Bihor) is a former Romanian labor union organizer, leader of Romania's Jiu Valley coal miners' union and politician. He is best known for his role in leading the miners of the Jiu Valley during the September 1991 Mineriad which overthrew the reformist Petre Roman government. In 2011, he entered in politics and founded Worker's Social Democratic Party.

Mineriad[edit]

In January 1999 Cozma led another series of miner protests, caused by the intention of Radu Vasile's government to close down several money-losing mines in the Jiu Valley region. Intending to put pressure on the government, Cozma and his miners started marching towards Bucharest.[1] The miners clashed with the Gendarmerie at Costeşti, Vâlcea County; about 70 miners and 100 gendarmes were wounded and one miner died. Soon after, Prime Minister Radu Vasile held talks with Cozma at Cozia Monastery, and Cozma agreed to end the march and disband the miners.[2]

At the beginning of February of the same year, however, Cozma was sentenced by the Supreme Court of Justice to 18 years in prison for his involvement in the 1991 mineriad. This quickly prompted a new march of the miners towards Bucharest. This time, special forces intervened and dispersed the miners at Stoeneşti, Olt County. Cozma and his lieutenants were captured by the police;[3] Cozma himself was taken to the Rahova prison to serve his term.

Cozma was a controversial character in the '90s, both within and outside of Jiu Valley. He was pardoned by Romanian President Ion Iliescu on December 15, 2004, only a few days before his final term as President ended, but shortly afterwards revoked the pardon on December 16 stating that it was a mistake.

However, he was released from prison in June 2005 when the cancellation of his pardon was ruled illegal by the Bucharest Court of Appeal. In September 2005, he was sentenced by the Romanian Supreme Court to a 10-year term for the January 1999 Mineriad. All his sentences were overlapped, so as of June 2006 he still had to serve a 13-month concurrent sentence in prison.

On June 2, 2006, Miron Cozma's request to be released on parole was denied by the Parole Commission of the Rahova Penitentiary.[4] A Bucharest court dismissed his appeal against the decision 2 weeks later.[5]

Cozma could have left the prison 6 months before time as recommended by the Parole Commission on January 3, 2007.[6] Although the decision was upheld by a Bucharest court on January 9,[7] it was overturned on appeal on February 20, 2007.[8]

Miron Cozma was finally released on 2 December 2007, having a restriction on entering Petroşani or Bucharest. Upon leaving Rahova, he flew to Timişoara to meet with his family and friends. He stated in his interviews that certain politicians should have been incarcerated as well, also adding "Spiritul lui Miron Cozma nu moare!" ("The soul of Miron Cozma will never die!")

In June 2013, Miron Cozma revealed during an interview[9] that the Army used live ammo against miners.

References[edit]