BUCHAREST - A ROMANIAN court has granted former diplomat Silviu Ionescu's request to be released from detention.

Ionescu, who is accused of being involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident in Singapore last year, has been in jail for about six months. He had repeatedly requested to be released from detention, but the court turned down his requests.

Yesterday, however, Ionescu's lawyer Nelu Tasca confirmed that Ionescu's request for release was accepted, which means he would be released from detention within 24 hours unless prosecutors filed an appeal.

If prosecutors do not appeal, Ionescu would be released by Saturday for the duration of the trial, said the lawyer.

The 50-year-old former charge d'affaires is accused of hitting three pedestrians in a hit-and-run accident in Bukit Panjang on Dec 15 last year. One of them, assistant manager Tong Kok Wai, 30, a Malaysian, died.

Ionescu's lawyer had previously argued that the prosecution did not have any evidence to pinpoint his whereabouts at the scene of the accident, so his client should be released and tried as a free man. The former diplomat had also said he was his family's sole breadwinner.

Ionescu's request granted