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Walesa, in Court, Won’t Answer Questions, May Be Prosecuted

United Press International

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.

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“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.

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“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.


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