A leading Romanian dissident yesterday accused the United States of behaving as if it were the accomplice of President Nicolae Ceausescu in repressing human rights in Romania.
Appearing before a congressional commission reviewing compliance with the 1975 Helsinki accords, writer Paul Goma said U.S. support for Romania's independence from Moscow had bolstered Ceausescu's personal position and enabled him to take a tougher line at home. Until his arrest in April 1977, Goma led a small band of civil rights activists in Romania.
Successive U.S. governments have pledged support for the relatively independent foreign policy pursued by Romania, despite its membership in the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact. Earlier this year, Ceausescu was received by President Carter at the White House.
Goma, 43, who now lives in exile in Paris, told the commission although no Soviet troops are stationed in Romania, ordinary Romanian citizens are subjected to greater repression than their counterparts in countries more closely tied politically to the Soviet Union, such as Poland and Hungary.
He said freedom of belief, freedom of movement and freedom of expression - guaranteed under the Helsinki declaration signed by Ceausescu and 34 other heads of government - were ignored in Romania.
Questioned by Rep. Dante B. Fascell (D-Fla.) about political repression in Romania, Goma said people whoheld unorthodox opinions frequently were confined to psychiatric hospitals, ordered to work in labor camps or isolated from their friends.
"For diplomatic reasons, the West has avoided criticizing Ceausescu and his regime, "Goma said. "The Romanian people believe that, by helping Ceausescu, the U.S. is acting as his accomplice in suppressing human rights."
Goma said U.S. credits to Romania, together with the granting of most-favored-nation trading status had failed to produce improvements for either the standard of living or the human rights of ordinary Romanian citizens. He said business contracts with Romania should be made conditional on respect for human rights.
Describing his own month-long detention by Romanian security authorities, Goma said he had been beaten up personally by a deputy minister of the interior and accused of high treason because of his contacts with western journalists.