Tags: poland | communist | trial

Poland's Last Communist Leader Denies Guilt

Thursday, 02 Oct 2008 01:15 PM

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
|  A   A  
  Copy Shortlink

WARSAW, Poland — Poland's last communist leader denied Thursday that he led an organized criminal group intent on depriving people of freedom when he imposed martial law in a 1981 crackdown on the pro-democracy Solidarity movement.

Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski, 85, dismissed as unfounded the charges brought against him by the Institute of National Remembrance, a state body that investigates communist-era crimes.

"I often repeat the words: I regret, I deplore, I apologize, especially in relation to death, suffering and pain" caused during the crackdown, Jaruzelski told the four-judge panel hearing the case. "But that does not mean I plead guilty to charges as presented in the indictment."

It was the first time Jaruzelski had the opportunity to speak at his trial, which opened Sept. 12.

Jaruzelski and six other former officials are charged with violating article 258 of the penal code, which prohibits membership in an organized criminal group, as well as keeping people captive.

In addition, they are charged with violating the communist-era constitution by approving the decree that introduced martial law.

Jaruzelski argued that the decision to impose martial law on Dec. 13, 1981, and arrest hundreds of Solidarity leaders and activists was dictated by what he called a "higher compulsion."

"Martial law was an evil, but it saved Poland from a multidimensional catastrophe," Jaruzelski said — a reference to his long-standing insistence that the crackdown saved the country from a Soviet military intervention.

"I consider the charges that I am facing as unfounded and the whole indictment as being marked by a lack of objectivity," the retired general, dressed in a gray suit and wearing his trademark dark glasses, told the court.

Jaruzelski also challenged the official figure of some 100 martial law-related deaths.

"I trust that an independent court will analyze the matter in a just and objective way," he said.

If convicted, Jaruzelski could face up to 10 years in prison. It is unclear when the court will deliver a verdict.

Martial law was a serious setback for Solidarity but did not prevent the collapse of communist rule in 1989-1990.

Jaruzelski's government held round-table talks with Solidarity in 1989 that led to the movement's re-legalization and semi-free elections.

Jaruzelski was appointed as post-communist Poland's first president but was soon succeeded by Solidarity leader Lech Walesa, who won democratic elections in 1990.

© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Share:
  Comment  |
   Contact Us  |
  Print  
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Scarborough: Obama's Right, NATO Nations Should Up Military Spending

Thursday, 27 Mar 2014 13:00 PM

The U.S. invests more than its fair share on military spending compared to other countries, and President Barack Obama w . . .

US Suspends Aid to Free Syrian Army After Islamists Steal Supplies

Wednesday, 11 Dec 2013 18:28 PM

The United States and Britain suspended nonlethal aid to Western-backed Free Syrian Army rebels after a new Islamic coal . . .

White House Congratulates Greece on Elections

Sunday, 17 Jun 2012 17:39 PM

The White House is congratulating the Greek people for holding that country's election in difficult times.The statement  . . .

Most Commented

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved