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Corneliu Coposu, 79, Romanian Dissident - New York Times, November 13, 1995

Înapoi la 11-XI-1995 †, Special

Corneliu Coposu, the leading symbol of anti-Communist resistance in Romania for nearly half a century, died on Saturday at University Hospital after suffering a heart attack, hospital officials said. He was 79.

Mr. Coposu spent 17 years in Communist jails, including 8 years of solitary confinement. After the Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu was killed in an uprising in 1989, Mr. Coposu revived his once-banned Peasant Party, later turning it into the backbone of the centrist opposition group called Democratic Convention in the post-Communist era.

With Mr. Coposu as spiritual leader, the Democratic Convention was cemented by what he described as a shared dedication to restore the rule of law, to dismantle the remnants of Communist structures and to make Romania a genuine democracy.

In 1947, Moscow-backed Communists took power in Romania and had him arrested and sentenced to 25 years of hard labor for "high treason" against the working class. When he left prison in 1964, Mr. Coposu, a former university heavyweight weight-lifting champion, had lost nearly half his body weight and had difficulty speaking after his years in solitary confinement.

Although he received a degree in legal science at Cluj University, he was not allowed to practice law in the Communist era. He worked for several years as a mechanic on a building site and then as an economist. He retired in 1976 but, after the 1989 revolt became one of Romania's most active politicians.

Mr. Coposu's wife, Arlette, died in jail after serving 14 years of a life sentence of hard labor. They had no children.

Reuters, November 13, 1995, New York Times

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