IPN appeals, wants higher penalty for former militia officer

Prosecutors of the Institute of the National Remembrance (IPN) submitted an appeal in which they demand higher sentence for Roman S. (name withheld under the Polish privacy law) a former officer of communist Motorised Reserves of the Citizens' Militia (ZOMO) who took part in pacification of strike in “Wujek” coal mine in Katowice, southern Poland. Polish public radio reported details of the appeal.

Communist militia officer sentenced for pacification of 'Wujek' mine

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The court of the first instance sentenced Mr S. for a total of seven years behind bars, but the penalty was reduced by half due to the amnesty announced in 1989.

“We do not agree with the level of penalty. In the indictment, I asked for ten years of prison and I believe that such penalty would be adequate to deeds of this former ZOMO officer,” prosecutor Dariusz Psiuk told Polish radio.

The IPN prosecutors stressed in the appeal submitted to the court that the pacification of the strike in the “Wujek” mine was a crime against humanity, which - as the Polish law states - has no statute of limitation and the court of the first instance excluded this qualification from the sentence.

“Another mistake was the decision that the bill on amnesty from 1989 can be applied in this case, which allowed to decrease the sentence from seven to three-and-half years,” Mr Psiuk added.

Arresting and extradition to Poland of Mr S. was possible thanks to the European Arrest Warrant. He was detained in Croatia in May 2019.

The massacre in “Wujek” was the deadliest event of the martial law that was imposed in Poland on the night of December 12 and 13, 1981.

Following the imposition of martial law and the arrest of Jan Ludwiczak, the head of “Wujek” mine’s Solidarity, the miners began the strike. Despite more and more miners joining the strike, negotiations were unsuccessful.

On December 16, armed militia arrived at “Wujek” mine and began the pacification of the strike with the use of live ammunition. A total of nine miners were killed and 21 injured.