Former communist leader cleared of martial law charges
PR dla Zagranicy
A Warsaw appeal court has upheld a not guilty verdict for former communist party leader Stanislaw Kania over responsibility for introducing martial law in December 1981.
Martial law: photo - wikipedia
However, echoing the original January 2012 verdict, the court maintained that the imposition of martial law had been carried out illegally by a “criminal group,” with the aim of destroying the Solidarity trade union and protest movement.
Kania had resigned from his position as leader of the communist party (general secretary) in October 1981, two months before the tanks rolled into the streets.
Judge Zbigniew Kapinski concluded today that no convincing new evidence had been provided that could account for Kania's alleged co-responsibility for the imposition of martial law.
About 100 people lost their lives in the clampdown, and thousands of opposition activists were imprisoned. Martial law ended in late 1983.
Prosecutors representing Poland's Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), the state-backed body charged with investigating crimes against Polish citizens, initially took the case to court in 2008.
General Wojciech Jaruzelski, who was party leader at the time of the introduction of martial law, was removed from the case in 2011, owing to poor health.
Former interior minister Czeslaw Kiszczak was given a two-year suspended sentence in January 2012, but last week, the court agreed to postpone his appeal, owing to the 87-year-old defendant's poor health. (nh)