Walesa, in Court, Won’t Answer Questions, May Be Prosecuted
Solidarity founder Lech Walesa, defying threats of criminal prosecution, Wednesday refused to answer questions from a state prosecutor investigating the activities of the underground union movement.
In a related development, the official news agency PAP said authorities have arrested a key Solidarity underground activist, Tadeusz Jedynak, who was released from an internment camp in 1982.
Police surrounded the entrance of a Gdansk court when Walesa drove up in his blue Volkswagen to answer a summons alleging that the Nobel Peace Prize laureate was suspected of disturbing the peace and leading an illegal organization.
If he is formally charged and convicted, Walesa could face a maximum five-year jail sentence.
“I did not even say ‘good morning’ to the prosecutor,” Walesa told reporters as he left the courthouse after the 30-minute session.
Walesa, who was accompanied to the court by a lawyer, said he was threatened with court action unless he stopped his protest activities.
“ ‘You can find yourself in a different situation and the prosecutor can apply different operations against you,’ ” he said the prosecutor told him.
But Walesa said he refused to answer questions put to him by the prosecutor. Instead, he submitted a written statement explaining he was refusing to testify because of the recent convictions of three Solidarity activists on charges of plotting a protest against government-ordered price boosts.
“The trial of Wladyslaw Frasyniuk, Bogdan Lis and Adam Michnik strengthened my conviction that there is only one way to behave with dignity before the court, prosecutor and police--by refusing to testify,” the statement said.
“That is why I refused to answer questions,” it said.
The three were arrested Feb. 13 at a secret Solidarity strategy meeting to discuss the government-ordered price hikes. Walesa attended the meeting but was not arrested or charged.