Fact Check: Romanian President Did NOT Sell Orphaned Children For Their Organs in the 1990s

Fact Check

  • de: Jurnaliștii Lead Stories
Fact Check: Romanian President Did NOT Sell Orphaned Children For Their Organs in the 1990s Not Dead

Was Romanian president Klaus Iohannis involved in a child trafficking ring in the early 1990s responsible for selling three Romanian siblings to a Canadian organ bank? No, that's not true: Iohannis and his wife intermediated an adoption for a Canadian family in 1990, but the three children were not murdered for their organs and they are alive and well. The debunked claim is recycled during electoral campaigns to discredit the president and the political party he is associated with.

The video from a 1990s local Romanian TV report on the story has been recycled on a TikTok video (archived here) published by user @camecocoonofficial with a caption reading:

This is what the Iohannises were doing in the 90s

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-06-19 at 14.42.25.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Jun 19 11:30:31 2023 UTC)

The story about Klaus Iohannis' role in adopting the Iliuț siblings from a village in Sibiu county dates back to the 1990s when Iohannis served in the county as a school inspector. The video shows a local TV report in which a regional public library director, Marius Marinescu, claimed that Iohannis and his wife arranged for three underaged, orphaned children to be taken away from their paternal grandmother and sold to a Canadian organ bank. The TV reporter claimed that "no one has heard anything about them since," and he also claimed the library director was involved in a feud with the then-school inspector Iohannis. To support his outlandish claims, Marinescu brought forth a main witness: the children's grandmother.

The two-term President has defended his role in the adoption during several interviews over the years, most recently in 2014 on channel B1TV. He has described the child trafficking accusations as a "dirty lie" used by political rivals. The false claim has been recycled during electoral years - and 2024 will see a record number of elections in Romania when the President's national-liberal party remains a leading contender in upcoming presidential, parliamentary, local, and European Parliament elections.

The maternal aunt and uncle of the adopted children, Ana and Gheorghe Susan, have repeatedly spoken to local and national media and confirmed the children were alive and well in Canada, growing up in Tumbler Ridge with Alain and Arlene Lalande. Ana Susan also allegedly showed the media photos of the children two years after the adoption and recent ones as adults. She claimed they reconnected over Facebook and that, a few years ago, they promised to visit Romania.

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