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Secret Report: 17 Political Foes Killed in Poland Since Last Year

March 27, 1985

NEW YORK (AP) _ A secret report smuggled to the West and released by supporters of the outlawed Solidarity labor federation says as many as 17 political foes of the government have been killed in Poland since last year.

The opposition Helsinki Committee in Poland accused police of murdering two Solidarity supporters between January and September 1984, numerous accounts of human rights violations and of torturing and beating political opponents of the government.

The report, translated and distributed in New York by the Committee in Support of Solidarity, which simultaneously issued a supplement covering the period through January 1985, blamed an additional 15 deaths on police.

The deaths, it said, brought to 88 the number of people killed by Communist authorities since they cracked down on Solidarity on Dec. 13, 1981.

The government has acknowledged responsibility for a far smaller number of deaths and denied involvement in nearly all the cases cited in the Solidarity and Helsinki reports.

The most highly publicized of the murders was the beating death of a Roman Catholic priest sympathetic to Solidarity, the Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko, last October. Four secret policemen were imprisoned for his death in what is believed to be the first such conviction of security operatives in the Soviet bloc.

The Helsinki report dealt at length with the death of another well-known Solidarity activist, Piotr Bartoszcze, who was found dead in a muddy field on Feb. 7, 1984. Solidarity leader Lech Walesa and others have cited police involvement in the death, but the government denies it.

The Helsinki committee also blamed police for the death of Boguslaw Walczak, who died after being taken into police custody on March 8, 1984, in Wroclaw.

Nine of the deaths included in the supplement occurred after the period covered by the Helsinki Committee and three others were those of anonymous persons. Three additional deaths cited by Solidarity were not documented as extensively as those discussed in the 131-page Helsinki Committee report.

The 81-page Solidarity supplement, based on reports in underground newspapers published in Poland, accused the government of continuing ″gross and massive violations of human rights″ even after an amnesty declared last July 22.

Solidarity said 89 political prisoners remained in Polish jails in January 1985 and the authorities had imprisoned 1,000 Solidarity backers and other activitists ″for substantial periods″ during 1984.

The Helsinki committee was organized in 1978, suppressed under martial law, and revived in October 1982. Its members do not release their names for fear of retribution. The Solidarity committee formed in New York following the birth of the free trade union in Poland in August 1980.

″The human rights abuses include a continuation of killings and beatings carried out by unknown perpetrators connected to the police organs, the widespread use of detention and political imprisonment of Solidarity members and leaders ...″ the Solidarity report said.

It also cited ″the excessive use of force by police organs to repress peaceful assembly, cruel, arbitrary and degrading treatment of political prisoners, and the pervasive use of arbitrary dismissals and the denial of employment to Solidarity members and political prisoners.″

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