Romanian Police closes obscene anti-Govt. license plates case

The Romanian Police will close the case against the Romanian driver who had an obscene message against the ruling party on the personalized license plates of his car registered in Sweden, the institution announced.

The respective license plates will be returned to the transport authority in Sweden, which has canceled them after the scandal started. The car owner, Razvan Stefanescu, will get his driver’s license back. Moreover, the Police will also investigate the “wrong way” in which the Traffic Police department motivated its decision to confiscate the respective license plates and suspend the man’s driver’s license, based on a UN Convention’s provisions that don’t apply anymore.

The whole scandal started when a Romanian living in Sweden entered the country at the middle of July with a car whose personalized license plates, issued in Sweden, read “MUIEPSD”, an obscene message against the ruling party in Romania – PSD. The man was allowed to pass the border with his personalized car and three traffic police crews that stopped him afterwards decided that there was nothing illegal about his car.

However, on Monday morning, July 30, a police crew stopped him in Bucharest, confiscated his license plates, suspended his driver’s license and started an investigation against him. The Traffic Police department’s representatives held a press conference on that day saying that the man had violated the provisions of the UN Vienna Convention in 1968, which said that a car’s license plates can include only digits or a combination of letters and digits. The police representatives also said that the man hadn’t been sanctioned before because the Romanian Police waited for an answer from the Swedish counterpart on whether the license plates were legal or not. They also said the Swedish Police informed them that the plates were only legal in Sweden.

However, both arguments were contradicted. The Swedish Embassy said that, according to the country’s transport authority that issued the plates, these are legal in any EU member state. At the same time, Romanian journalists found that the Vienna Convention mentioned by the Police was in fact changed in 2015, also allowing all-letter license plates.

On Wednesday, the chief of the Romanian Police, Ioan Buda, said that the man entered the country legally but considered that his gesture was “immoral”.

The whole scandal led to an unprecedented image crisis for the Romanian Police, which many accused of political subordination and serving the interests of the ruling party leaders. A campaign started on Facebook and over 50,000 people gave 1-star ratings and bad reviews on the Romanian Police’s Facebook page until the page managers decided to close the review section. However, negative comments continued to pour in.

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(Photo source: Politia Romana Facebook page)

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