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Poland court wants more evidence in indictment against ex-communist leaders

[JURIST] A Polish judge ruled on Wednesday that prosecutors must amend their indictment against former communist leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] and other former communist officials to present a greater range of evidence against the defendants. Jaruzelski was charged [JURIST report] in March 2006 with "organizing crimes of a military nature" and "carrying out crimes that consisted of the deprivation of freedom through internment" for his imposition of martial law [Polish government backgrounder] in Poland on December 13, 1981. The charges, which prosecutors had been preparing [JURIST report] since late 2005, were brought by the Institute of National Remembrance [official website], a government body responsible for looking into Nazi-era and Communist-era crimes. Among the court's recommendations for improving the evidence in the indictment was the suggestion that prosecutors interview some of Jaruzelski's political contemporaries such as former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev [CNN profile], former UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher [BBC profile], and former US Secretary of State Alexander Haig to ascertain the international impact of Jaruzelski's actions. AP has more.

Jaruzelski was previously tried in 2001 for ordering troops to fire on striking ship workers [BBC report] in the 1970s, but the trial ended without a verdict. About 100 people are said to have died as a result of the declaration of martial law and subsequent arrests of Solidarity movement [official website] leaders, including Lech Walesa [BBC profile], and approximately 10,000 people were held in internment camps during martial law. Jaruzelski has argued that his decision to impose martial law was necessary to maintain order and prevent foreign intervention in Poland.

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