Bujak Facing Up to 10 Years in Prison; Poles Suggest U.S. Knew Where He Was
Poland’s government spokesman said Tuesday that Zbigniew Bujak, the captured head of Solidarity’s underground organization, faces up to 10 years in prison on charges of attempting to overthrow the country’s Communist regime.
Elaborating on a developing propaganda theme, the spokesman, Jerzy Urban, contended that Bujak had links with “foreign subversive centers” and suggested that the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw knew where the 31-year-old activist was hiding when police captured him last Saturday.
The U.S. Embassy’s press officer, Paul R. Smith, said the embassy had “absolutely no knowledge of Mr. Bujak’s whereabouts, and any implication by the government spokesman that we did is pure fantasy.” He added that embassy officials had not helped to harbor the dissident in any way.
At the same time, Solidarity’s national underground leadership, reduced now to only two publicly identified figures, issued a statement vowing to continue its struggle for democracy in Poland.
‘Ideas of Our Union’
“Repression . . . cannot destroy ideas, the ideas of our union . . . Solidarity,” said the statement, which was signed by the two remaining leaders who continue to elude police, Marek Muszynski of Wroclaw and Jan Andrzej Gorny of Katowice, both in southern Poland. Altogether, several tens of thousands of Poles are believed to remain active at least part-time in the underground, but anonymously.
The statement conceded that the arrest of Bujak, a symbol of defiance to the authorities, was a “serious blow.” But it said the independent workers’ movement has survived “a lot of blows” since martial law was imposed for 18 months beginning in 1981, and will continue to do so.
Urban, speaking in his regular weekly news conference for foreign reporters, confirmed reports by Solidarity sources that three other activists--Ewa Kulik, Konrad Bielinski and Henryk Wujec--were arrested in Warsaw early Saturday at the same time as Bujak, but he said there were others as well whom he refused to identify.
He said that Wujec, a prominent activist who was not in the underground, was sentenced in a summary court procedure to three months in jail on an old charge stemming from an illegal May Day demonstration in 1985.
10 Years Possible
The three others are being held on felony charges, with a maximum possible penalty for Bujak of 10 years in prison, Urban said.
Solidarity sources said that security police apparently followed all four to their apartments Friday night after a meeting of the underground’s Warsaw regional coordinating committee. Two other activists, who were supposed to attend the meeting but did not, have so far escaped arrest, but their apartments are under surveillance, the sources said.
One of the two men, Wiktor Kulerski, said in a statement made available to reporters on Tuesday that the Warsaw underground has sustained “extremely heavy losses” and would operate now in an “incomparably more difficult situation.”
“We have to pick ourselves up and undertake further work despite the setbacks and losses,” Kulerski’s statement said.
Urban said Bujak’s hiding place had been under surveillance for some time after a “civic-minded” neighbor tipped off police.
This lends credence to a widely held belief that political factors played an important role in the timing of the arrests. Bujak’s capture came two days after the United States did not veto Poland’s long-awaited admission to the International Monetary Fund, and it will be greeted as good news at a Warsaw Pact summit next week and at a policy-making congress of the Polish Communist Party at the end of this month.
In an apparent effort to suggest that Bujak was working as an American agent, Urban said the address of his hiding place was “known to the U.S. Embassy.”
As evidence, he held aloft an invitation to an embassy farewell party this Thursday for cultural officer James W. Hutcheson, which he said had been delivered to the apartment by an embassy messenger.
Asked whether he meant to suggest that the American Embassy had invited Poland’s most wanted political fugitive to a garden party, Urban retreated, conceding that the invitation was addressed to the apartment’s owner, not Bujak.