NICOLAE PLESITA, 80
Sheltered Carlos the Jackal
Gen. Nicolae Plesita, a die-hard Communist and chief of the Securitate secret police who arranged shelter in Romania for terrorist Carlos the Jackal and was tried for the bombing of Radio Free Europe, died Monday in Bucharest in a Romanian Intelligence Service hospital, where he was being treated for illnesses including diabetes, the Agerpres and Mediafax news agencies reported, citing family members.
General Plesita commanded the Securitate's foreign intelligence service from 1980 to 1984. He gained notoriety for his contacts with Venezuelan-born terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal.
Ramirez was hired by the Securitate on the orders of dictator Nicolae Ceausescu to assassinate Romanian dissidents in France and bomb the Radio Free Europe offices in Munich, Germany, in 1981. Nine people were injured in the attack on the radio station, which broadcast into communist Eastern Europe.
In 1998, General Plesita told court prosecutors that Ceausescu had ordered him to find temporary shelter for Ramirez in Romania after the bombing. Ceausescu sold arms and explosives to Ramirez and enabled him to produce counterfeit passports and driver's licenses, Romanian news media reported.
After the 1989 anti-communist revolt, General Plesita faced a military trial in Romania for being an accomplice in the Radio Free Europe attack. The trial was interrupted several times, and he was found innocent earlier this year.
In post-communist Romania, General Plesita continued to attract attention with his revelations from the Communist period, and he showed no remorse for having crushed anti-communist dissent.
PAVEL POPOVICH, 78
Former Soviet cosmonaut Pavel Popovich, the sixth man to go into orbit, died Wednesday.
Boris Yesin of the Russian astronaut training center said Mr. Popovich died of a stroke in Gurzuf, a resort city on Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula.
Mr. Popovich was born in Ukraine when it was part of the Soviet Union. The first of his two trips into orbit was in August 1962 as the solo man aboard the Vostok-4 capsule. The launch came a day after another Soviet was launched into orbit, marking the first time that two humans were in orbit around the Earth at the same time.
Mr. Popovich next went into space a dozen years later in July 1974 as the commander of the two-man Soyuz-14, a 15-day mission to the Salyut space station.