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Poland seeks to prosecute communist-era judges, prosecutors

March 19, 2019 GMT

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Poland is seeking to prosecute seven communist-era judges and prosecutors who imprisoned pro-democracy fighters in the 1980s, justice officials said Tuesday.

Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro, said that authorities want to lift the immunity of three judges and four prosecutors, who “unlawfully deprived of freedom” those protesting the 1981 communist-imposed martial law and the authorities of the time.

Ziobro, who is also the prosecutor general, said the aim was to bring the officials to justice for what he described as “court crimes.” He did not disclose their identities, other than to say that two of the judges were active until recently in the Supreme Court.

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The motions, written by special history-focused prosecutors of the government-controlled Institute of National Remembrance, or IPN, were sent to disciplinary courts on Tuesday.

Head of the institute’s investigative arm, Andrzej Pozorski, said the probe into the martial-law era imprisonments was their biggest so far.

Poland’s right-wing ruling Law and Justice party, which has introduced controversial charges to the justice system that are strongly criticized by the European Union leaders, has sought to punish and remove from public life justice officials of the communist era. It argues it is acting in the interest of the victims.

The IPN says that at least 10 people were unlawfully sent to prison in 1981-82, including two high school students caught painting anti-regime graffiti. The verdicts had a very negative effect on their lives.

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