Gheorghe Emil Ursu was a Romanian construction engineer, poet, diarist and dissident. A left-wing activist and avant-garde intellectual who joined the Romanian Communist Party as a youth, he was soon after disillusioned with the Communist regime, and became one of its critics. For most of his life, Gheorghe Ursu was active in cultural circles, and maintained contacts with literary and artistic figures.
Ursu anonymously denounced the policies of Nicolae Ceauşescu, and was kept under surveillance by the country's secret police—the Securitate. A journal in which he recorded his thoughts and opinions was the subject of a denunciation, which eventually led to his arrest. He was beaten to death by cell mates soon after, while in the custody of the Miliția.
Ursu's death was a matter of international scandal and, after the Romanian Revolution, the subject of an inquiry initially headed by prosecutor Dan Voinea. Much controversy arose over the new authorities' alleged procrastination, before two former officers were sentenced for instigating his murder. A third one was jailed for confiscating his diary, most of which remains lost.