Romanian anti-communist dissident Doina Cornea, who was beaten and arrested after criticising the destruction of villages and churches during the regime of Nicolae Ceausescu, has died at the age of 88.
Her son, Leontin Juhasz, said she died overnight on Thursday at her home in the north-western city of Cluj after a long illness.
Ms Cornea, a French professor at Cluj’s Babes Bolyai University, sent her first letter protesting about the communist regime to Radio Free Europe in 1982 and went on to send dozens of similar letters, attracting the attention of the Securitate secret police.
She was fired from the university in 1983 after her daughter smuggled an open letter to France in which she was critical of Ceausescu.
Along with her son, Ms Cornea was arrested in 1987 after releasing manifestos in support of a workers’ uprising in the city of Brasov.
She was later put under house arrest, and was freed during the December 1989 revolution when Ceausescu was toppled and executed.
Explaining her decision to oppose communism, in an interview with historian Cornel Juju, she said: “I am nothing special … just as scared and cowardly as others.
“But every day I practise ‘resistance’ which enriches and strengthens me.”
After communism ended, Ms Cornea briefly became part of the National Salvation Front which came to power during the uprising, but after a month she became disillusioned and left.
She is survived by her son. Her daughter, Ariadna Combes, died in 2016.