Poland’s last communist leader has told a court he had little choice but to declare martial law in 1981, but added that his action saved the country from catastrophe. General Wojciech Jaruzelksi and seven other former communist officials are on trial on charges of illegally declaring martial law and committing human rights violations.
The ex-military ruler has often argued that the 1981 declaration spared Poland the kind of Soviet military intervention that crushed pro-democracy supporters in Hungary in 1956 and Czechoslovakia a decade later.
Poland remained under martial law for two years, during which time dozens of people were killed, hundreds were jailed and the anti-communist Solidarity trade union was banned. Jaruzelski told the court in Warsaw that martial law was a necessary “evil” that averted disaster and prepared the way for democracy.
Martial law lasted for two years. Jaruzelski went on to open dialogue with the Solidarity union, starting a process that led to the fall of communism.
- 1euronews live TV - News | euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 2Greek debt crisis is “absolute supremacy of capital over humans”
- 3[Live updates] NGO flotilla bids to break Israeli blockade of Gaza
- 4[LIVE UPDATES] Greek debt deadline looms
- 5Large Hadron Collider ready to embark on an unprecedented voyage of discovery
- 6Istanbul Gay pride quashed by riot police, rubber bullets and water cannon
- 7[LIVE UPDATES] France: man decapitated, several wounded in chemical plant attack
- 8Israel prepares to repel boarders as ‘Freedom Flotilla 3’ tries to run Gaza blockade
- 9Greek debt summit – Live updates
- 10Seven reasons why Yanis Varoufakis is now a political legend
- 11‘Distractingly sexy’ scientists hit back in lab chemistry polemic
- 12Greece votes ‘No’ in overwhelming rejection of bailout proposals
- 13NewsWires : euronews : the latest international news as video on demand
- 14Greek debt: who will pay if Greece fails?
- 15Summit up in Brussels as Greek proposals give food for thought and rumours fly
- 16Battle of Waterloo, live-tweeting 200 years on
- 17Greek PM faces day of crucial bailout talks in Brussels
- 18Spain’s first case of diphtheria in 30 years: parents of six-year-old ‘oppose vaccines’
- 19Citizens take power in Spain’s largest cities as a political revolution sweeps the country
- 20Italy discovers biggest illegal waste dump in Europe
Wires > News
- 17:15 CET Bomb kills dozens in north Nigeria, gunmen open fire on crowd
- 17:13 CET Pakistan kills leader of anti-Shi’ite militants in southwest
- 17:10 CET U.S. only training 60 Syrian fighters, far below expectations
- 17:00 CET Sponsors of Colombian peace talks worry over escalation of war
- 16:38 CET Cartoonist cyber-bullied as Greek politics turn sour
- 15:49 CET Turning 18, Malala says she’ll remain ‘voice of children’
- 15:11 CET Six powers and Iran to continue nuclear talks past deadline – EU
- 15:09 CET Brazil’s Rousseff tells paper she is uncowed by opposition calls…