Trial begins over attempted poisoning of Solidarity icon Walentynowicz
PR dla Zagranicy
Three communist-era security services operatives went on trial on Friday for allegedly attempting in 1981 to poison Anna Walentynowicz, one of the leading lights of Poland's Solidarity movement.
The trial, which is being held in Radom, central eastern Poland, was orginally due to be held in 2010, but the court ruled that the deadline to bring the matter to court had already expired.
However, in September 2011, an appeal court in Lublin, eastern Poland, quashed the decision, and the case has finally returned to court.
The indictment was brought by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), the state-run body that investigates historic crimes against Poles and the Polish nation.
Secret police files apparently indicate that a plan was hatched to poison Walentynowicz, and that the crime was set to take place in Radom between 19 and 21 October 1981, just two months before the imposition of martial law.
However, Walentynowicz left the city, where she had been visiting workers, before the plan could be put into action.
The three defendants are pleading not guilty.
Anna Walentynowicz was central to the genesis of the Solidarity Movement. It was her firing from the former Lenin Shipyard in Gdansk – on account of her participation in an illegal trade union – that prompted the now legendary strike led by Lech Wałęsa in August 1980.
She died in the April 2010 Smolensk air disaster, along with 95 other Poles, including the then president, Lech Kaczyński. (nh/pk)