Supreme Court to Hear Appeal in Popieluszko Verdict
WARSAW, Poland (AP) _ The Supreme Court will next week consider the appeal of four secret police officers convicted in the killing of a Roman Catholic priest, a government spokesman said today.
A Polish court on Feb. 7 convicted three of the officers of kidnapping and murdering the Rev. Jerzy Popieluszko last October and sentenced them to prison terms ranging from 14 to 25 years. A fourth officer received 25 years for instigating the killing. Popieluszko was a supporter of the now-outlawed free trade union, Solidarity.
Zbigniew Augustynowicz, an assistant in the government spokesman’s office, confirmed a three-man Supreme Court panel would begin hearing the defendants’ appeals on April 19 in Warsaw.
The high court is empowered to change the verdict or sentence, or send the case back to a lower court for retrial. It can summon the defendants or witnesses to testify.
It was not immediately known if the Supreme Court sessions would be open to the public.
A court in the northern city of Torun sentected Capt. Grzegorz Piotrowski to 25 years in prison for playing the leading role in Popieluszko’s death. His two accomplices, Lts. Leszek Pekala and Waldemar Chmielewski, received sentences of 15 years and 14 years, respectively.
The court sentenced Col. Adam Pietruszka to 25 years in prison for aiding and abetting his three subordinates.