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Ceausescus Beg For Mercy, Weep in New Execution Footage

April 22, 1990 GMT

PARIS (AP) _ Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu wept silently and his wife Elena begged for mercy as soldiers readied them for the firing squad, according to footage of their execution broadcast Sunday.

Extracts of the graphic 90-minute videotape were aired exclusively by the French television network TF1. They are the most detailed look yet at the execution Dec. 25 at a military base outside Bucharest. The Ceausescus were executed days after being toppled by a popular revolution.

″Don’t attack us 3/8 We have the right to die the way we want,″ Elena Ceausescu told soldiers and the 10-person civilian-military tribunal that sentenced the couple to death.

″Children ...″ Mrs. Ceausescu sniffed at the soldiers who tied her hands behind her back. ″You are bruising my hands. This is shameful. Why, why? I raised you all like a mother.″

Nicolae Ceausescu, who ruled Romania with an iron fist for a quarter- century, struggled briefly with the soldiers but said nothing. Tears rolled down his cheeks.

Soldiers placed the couple, who were not blindfolded, against a brick wall and others rapidly opened fire, emptying their magazines. The Ceausescus crumpled under the bullets, which also peppered the brick wall.

A medic then looked for signs of life in the eyes of Elena Ceausescu as blood poured from her head. He found none.

Subsequent images showed Nicolae Ceausescu embalmed and prepared for burial. His face appeared broken and gray.

Gelu Voican, the gray-bearded civilian who organized the proceedings, later was filmed before the two graves where he said the Ceausescus were buried in an Orthodox ceremony.

Voican serves as vice prime minister in the interim government headed by Prime Minister Ion Iliescu. Elections to form a new government are scheduled for late May.

Previous excerpts made public from the same tape have shown only the Ceausescus at the trial and their lifeless, cleaned bodies laying before the brick wall.

The cameraman recording the execution was accidentally wounded, said TF1 journalist Patrick Bourrat.