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Romania27 March 2003

Vanished journalist found dead

Police said they had found the body of investigative journalist Iosif Costinas, of the daily paper Timisoara, who disappeared on 8 June last year. His skeleton was found on 21 March in a forest 25 kms from the town of Timisoara and identified from dental records and his mother’s identification of his clothes and belongings. The cause of his death was not known.

18.04.2002 - Where is Iosif Costinas ?

image 90 x 108 (JPEG) Reporters Without Borders today voiced its concern about the disappearance of investigative journalist Iosif Costinas of the Timisoara daily newspaper, who has not been seen since 8 June 2002.

"Costinas disappeared more than two months ago while working on a book on a very sensitive subject and, without jumping to conclusions about the reasons for his disappearance, we fear it could be linked to his professional activity", Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Interior Minister Ioan Rus. The letter asked him to do everything possible to find Costinas and to consider the hypothesis that his disappearance was linked to his work.

Aged 62 and working for Timisoara in the city of the same name, Costinas was last seen on 8 June in Timisoara, where he failed to call or visit his mother as expected, although very attached to her. While two persons have claimed to have seen him on the city’s streets since that date, their claims do not seem credible as he has not contacted anyone close to him.

The police has carried out an extensive but unsuccessful investigation in the Timisoara area. According to Flavius Donca, head of the newspaper’s political section, Costinas was very critical of the current government and was writing a book on the Timisoara mafia. He had investigated such sensitive issues as unsolved murders during the 1989 anti-communist revolt and the presence of former members of the Securitate (the communist-era secret police) in positions of responsibility.

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