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Poland court rules trial of former communist leader can proceed

[JURIST] A Polish appeals court has ruled that the trial of former communist military leader General Wojciech Jaruzelski [official website] can proceed, overturning a lower court decision that halted the trial [JURIST report] while prosecutors gathered more evidence against other communist officials. Jaruzelski was charged in March 2006 [JURIST report] with "organizing crimes of a military nature" and carrying out crimes that consisted of the deprivation of freedom through internment" in connection with his imposition of martial law [Polish government backgrounder] in Poland on December 13, 1981. The trial is expected to begin in September or October. AP has more. From Poland, The News has additional coverage.

Last week, a Polish court overturned the conviction [JURIST report] of a riot police officer found guilty for the 1981 shooting deaths of nine coal miners who were protesting Jaruzelski's imposition of martial law. 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 former Polish president Lech Walesa [BBC profile]. An estimated 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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