Poland says No Improvement in Relations with United States
WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ The government said Tuesday that its strained relations with the United States had not improved since it released 225 political prisoners earlier this month.
Government spokesman Jerzy Urban told a Warsaw news conference that the amnesty under which the prisoners were freed would not cover at least seven people imprisoned for politically-motivated acts of terrorism or espionage and four people jailed for refusing military service.
″In the way that the West understands political prisoners, there are no political prisoners in Poland at the moment,″ Urban said. ″If someone tells us that we should release terrorists ... I will answer that we will not, having before our eyes the effects of terrorism in such beautiful cities as Paris.″
Meanwhile, Roman Catholic church and government officials held a meeting in Warsaw on Tuesday to discuss church-state relations, the official Polish news agency PAP reported.
The church-state commission called the amnesty ″an important step forward on the way to broadening the social agreement″ and said it met demands voiced by the country’s bishops for the release of political prisoners, PAP said.
The statement said the two sides also discussed ″new legal-institutional forms of public activity for the good of the nation″ involving Catholics.
This was an apparent reference to a proposal by Polish leader Gen. Wojciech Jaruzelski to set up a government advisory council that would give moderate lay Catholic opponents a legal voice. A key question is whether any respected independent people will take part.
Urban said the government’s decision to release the political prisoners, including all imprisoned Solidarity activists, was motivated by the ″internal situation″ in Poland and not by a desire to improve relations with the West and obtain new economic credits for Poland’s hard-pressed economy.
He said that the amnesty so far had not led to any improvement in U.S.-Polish relations, which have been poor since the Reagan administration imposed economic sanctions to protest the December 1981 martial law crackdown against the Solidarity free trade union.
″Since the amnesty law came into force ... one does not notice any positive evolution of Polish-U.S. relations although the verbal reactions of the U.S. State Department were examined with interest in Poland,″ Urban said.
Some sanctions were lifted after martial law ended in 1983, but the United States continues to deny new credits and most favored nation trading status to Poland.
The two countries have also not exchanged ambassadors since 1981.
Urban said four people imprisoned for refusing military service on political grounds would not be released under the amnesty.
″Defense of the country is one of the most important duties .. . and persons who refuse to fulfill this basic duty were not covered by the act of clemency,″ said Urban.
Wojciech Jankowski, a member of the unofficial Freedom and Peace movement who is serving a 3 1/2 -year sentence for refusing military service, has been on a hunger strike for a week at a northern Poland prison to demand his release under the amnesty.
Among those still held are Krzysztof Kozlowski, serving a nine-year sentence on charges of cooperating with U.S. agents, and two Krakow municipal transport employees, Kazimierz Krauze and Jacek Zaba, sentenced to five years and 1 1/2 years in prison, respectively, for sabotaging 30 buses, Urban said.
Two brothers, Janusz and Ryszard Wypychowski, and Wieslaw Radosz are imprisoned and awaiting trial on charges of terrorism for derailing three trains and attempting to blow up a railroad bridge near Lodz, Urban said.
He said Andrzej Bieganski, an employee at the Belchatow power plant, was under pre-trial arrest on charges of sabotaging electric power grids that served Poland and neighboring countries.
Urban said the amnesty also did not cover Adam Hodysz, a former Gdansk secret police captain who is serving a six-year sentence after he was convicted of accepting bribes to supply information to Solidarity.