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Romanian Court Tells Man He Is Dead

Barlad, Romania —(Map)

A man in Romania went to court to try and prove that he was alive. Sadly for him, the court did not agree.

Constantin Reliu is 63 years old and still alive. He is from Romania, but he lived in Turkey for a long time. The last time Mr. Reliu’s wife saw him was when he visited Romania in 1999. But she never heard from him after that.

Most countries keep records showing when people are born and when they die. This helps them keep track of people in their country. When someone dies, usually there is a “death certificate” which proves that they are dead.

Example of a death certificate from Romania
Example of a death certificate from Romania
(Source: Romanian communist government 1953 (Andrea Dobeş – Iuliu Maniu, un creator de istorie), via Wikimedia Commons.)

In 2016, Mr. Reliu’s wife went to court. She asked the court to say that he was dead. One newspaper said that Mr. Reliu’s wife thought that he had died in an earthquake in Turkey. Since she had not heard from him in 17 years, the court agreed. The new death certificate said that Constantine Reliu died in 2003 (a year there were big earthquakes in Turkey).

Last year, Mr. Reliu tried to come back to Romania. At first he could not get into the country. The guards thought he was playing a trick because the records showed that Constantin Reliu was dead.

The court building - Palace of Justice in Barlad, Romania
The court building – Palace of Justice in Barlad, Romania
(Source: Bogdan29roman, via Wikimedia Commons.)

Last week Mr. Reliu went to ask the court to say he was alive. This is important to him because if he is “dead” he can’t get a passport and he can’t work.

But the court would not change its mind. They said too much time had gone by and that it was too late to change the decision.

“I am officially dead, although I’m alive,” Mr. Reliu told reporters.


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