BUCHAREST, Romania — A military court Monday sentenced 16 former Communist officials to prison for supporting a bloody crackdown that preceded the December, 1989, overthrow of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.
Five of the 21 defendants, all members of the Communist Party's Politburo, were acquitted.
The five-member panel of military judges gave the harshest sentences--5 1/2 years each--to Ceausescu's propaganda chief, Dumitru Popescu, 62, and Ioan Totu, 59, a former foreign minister.
Ludovic Fazekas, 65, who represented Hungarian ethnic minority interests in the Politburo, was sentenced to 4 1/2 years, while Totu's predecessor as foreign minister, Stefan Andrei, 59, was jailed for two years and 10 months.
Seven other defendants received sentences of up to three years, but they will go free because the court either suspended their jail terms or deducted time served since their arrest 15 months ago.