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Poland’s ruling party targeted over ex-communist top member

December 7, 2016

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland’s ruling anti-communist party has faced accusations of a double standard over a prominent role that a communist-era prosecutor has in the party leadership.

Opposition lawmakers on Wednesday asked that Stanislaw Piotrowicz step down as head of Parliament’s justice commission and resign as lawmaker, and asked an ethics commission to punish him for denying facts from his past.

Holding all state power since last year, the Law and Justice party has made it a priority to condemn communism, which was ousted in 1989. It also aims to remove communist-era activists from public life and strip them of financial privileges, like above-average pensions

At the heart of the controversy, Piotrowicz, a ruling Law and Justice party lawmaker, denied that he ever charged or persecuted any pro-democracy activists when he was a high-ranking prosecutor and communist party member under communist-imposed martial law in the 1980s. The military clampdown was intended to crush the Solidarity freedom movement, but failed to.

Piotrowicz insisted instead that he helped Solidarity activists.

“I never stood in court against anti-communist activists,” Piotrowicz said. “Some of them owe their freedom to me because I cooperated with their lawyers.”

The TVN24 station, however, has shown an indictment against a Solidarity activist, Antoni Pikula, that is signed by Piotrowicz. Pikula also told TVN24 he received no help from Piotrowicz.

Piotrowicz says he is being targeted for his leading role in the ruling party’s changing of laws that govern the nation’s key Constitutional Tribunal. Those steps have drawn protests from the opposition and condemnation from European Union leaders.

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