Monday, January 05, 2009

Kiszczak says evidence against collaborators not reliable

Much of evidence against those accused of collaboration with Poland’s secret services (SB) comes, not from information given by the accused themselves, but from bugs placed in their homes and workplaces, admits General Kiszczak.

General Czeslaw Kiszczak - currently on trial for his part in initiating martial law in Poland in 1981 - has admitted to ordering the secret police to record eavesdropped information as if it was coming, voluntarily from the accused. This invalidates much of the evidence against many who have been accused of collaboration.

Kiszczak, reports Gazeta Wyborcza – who was head of the communist secret services between 1981 – 83 - made his apologies to all who have been unjustly accused of collaboration.

One of those suspected is Malgorzata Niezabitowska, who served as a spokesperson in the first post-communist government of Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki, from 1989 to 1990. She was said to have collaborated with the SB under the codename of 'Nowak'. After she was exonerated in 2006 by the vetting court, who said that information about her came from surveillance equipment installed in her house and not from herself voluntarily, the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN) lodged an appeal against Niezabitowska’s acquittal.

Kiszczak’s statement sheds new light on the activity of the SB which was, after 1968, the organ responsible for the implementation of political repression and surveillance of opposition leaders.

Critics of the vetting process in Poland, where hundreds of people have been accused of collaboration with the communists, have argued that the source of the evidence – communist secret service records – is not reliable. Those found guilty of collaboration can be banned from public service in Poland.