Close
Log in
Please enter your login details

Skip to main content

Breaking News
  • There have been more than 2,000 deaths in the Mediterranean this year, says International Organization for Migration
  • Greece expects to conclude a bailout deal with international lenders by August 18
  • Two Turkish soldiers and an armed guard were killed in a blast in the southeastern province of Sirnak, Turkey
  • American, Delta and United Airlines have banned the transport of lion, leopard, elephant, rhino or buffalo killed by trophy hunters
  • Russia says it is concerned about the growing influence of Islamic State and is calling for international cooperation on the matter
  • Danny Cipriani remains in contention for England’s World Cup squad after he was re-bailed in his drink driving case until after the tournament
  • Four people, including a seven-year-old child, were killed after heavy rain caused flash floods and mudslides in western Macedonia
  • Pro-Hadi fighters recapture Yemen’s largest base from Houthis
  • A building has collapsed in Thane, near Mumbai, India, with 11 reported deaths and seven people pulled out alive
Facebook Twitter Google+ Reddit

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.