Romania ex-PM Adrian Nastase in suicide attempt

An ambulance carrying former Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase speeds away after he allegedly tried to commit suicide in his house
Image caption Romanian television broadcast pictures of Nastase being taken to hospital

Former Romanian Prime Minister Adrian Nastase has attempted to commit suicide by shooting himself in the neck.

The incident occurred when police arrived at Nastase's house to take him to prison, local media reports say.

Hours earlier Romania's highest court had upheld a two-year prison sentence against Nastase on corruption charges.

Nastase, who held office between 2000 and 2004, was convicted for illegally amassing about 1.5m euros ($1.9m; £1.2m) for his 2004 election campaign.

He insisted that the charges were politically motivated.

Current Prime Minister Victor Ponta, described as an ally of Nastase, visited him in hospital after the incident.

Nastase's condition was "under control", Mr Ponta told the Associated Press news agency.

Having exhausted legal challenges available to him in Romania, Nastase's lawyers indicated he may appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Nastase is the most senior political figure to be convicted by a court in Romania since the fall of communism in 1989.

"This verdict is opening a new era for Romanian justice in which judges are no longer afraid of condemning powerful people," Laura Stefan, an anti-corruption expert for the think tank Expert Forum, told the AFP news agency.

The European Union has in recent years put pressure on Romania to crack down on corruption among public officials.

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