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2 Peace Activists Reported Still in Jail After Freeing of Polish Political Captives

September 23, 1986|ROBERT GILLETTE | Times Staff Writer

WARSAW — Members of an unofficial Polish peace group said Monday that two peace activists are still in jail for refusing military service despite government statements that it has released all political prisoners. They said one of them has begun a hunger strike.

Jacek Czaputowicz, a founder of the peace group, which calls itself "Freedom and Peace," said that Wojciech Jankowski, 22, a schoolteacher from Gdansk, began a "dry protest fast," refusing to take food or water, on Sept. 16, the day after a government amnesty for political prisoners expired.

Jankowski, who is held in Wejerowo prison in northern Poland, has lost about 10 pounds, and prison authorities were to begin force-feeding him on Monday, Czaputowicz said at a news conference in his apartment in Warsaw.

Czaputowicz said he was among five members of the group released along with more than 200 other political prisoners earlier this month.

Government officials have claimed that all "non-criminal prisoners" in Polish jails have been released under the amnesty, which the authorities clearly hope will open the way to improved relations with the West and a new measure of acceptance by Polish society.

'Non-Criminal' Prisoners

In the past, the government has defined "non-criminal" prisoners as those whose offense was politically motivated and did not involve violent crime.

In a letter to the military court that sentenced him to 3 1/2 years in prison last December for refusing military service, Jankowski protested what he called attempts by military intelligence to "blackmail" him by promising his release if he would cooperate with the secret police.

"I protest against further confinement in prison despite the amnesty for political prisoners . . . and will continue my fast until the day of my release," Jankowski wrote.

A second member of the peace group, Jaroslaw Nakielski, 23, a Warsaw student, is still in prison although he turned himself in to authorities last week to take advantage of the amnesty, Czaputowicz said. Nakielski had been in hiding since April, when he escaped from a psychiatric hospital where he had been sent for observation after refusing to serve in the armed forces.

In addition, more than 100 Jehovah's Witnesses are believed to be imprisoned for refusing military service on religious grounds.

6 Refuse to Serve

The peace group also made public a list of six young Polish men who it said have received draft notices and who have pledged not to serve in the military. Polish law does not recognize conscientious objectors.

In a separate action, the peace group announced the formation of a fund to collect money to support the families of men imprisoned for draft resistance and to print its underground publications. Among those who have agreed to administer the fund, Czaputowicz said, is the 29-year-old son of Alfred Miodowicz, a member of the ruling Politburo and head of Poland's government-organized trade unions.

He said the son, Konstanty Miodowicz, was interned under martial law in 1981 for his role in organizing the student branch of the Solidarity independent trade union, and was a founding member of Freedom and Peace. In addition to calling for an alternative to military service for conscientious objectors, the group is branching out into environmental issues and has begun publishing an underground Polish edition of the London-based Amnesty International's monthly bulletin on human rights.

Organized in the spring of 1984, the group claims a core of about 100 active supporters, but it has gathered about 10,000 signatures on its petitions in behalf of young men jailed for refusing to perform military duty or to take the Polish military oath, which pledges loyalty to the Soviet Union and other "fraternal" members of the Warsaw Pact.

The group has also begun to establish ties with the West German Greens party and with Western peace groups, while pressing its argument that lasting peace and disarmament require democracy in Eastern Europe.

In a further sign of blossoming political activity in the wake of the amnesty, the leader of a militantly anti-Communist organization called the Confederation of Independent Poland held his first news conference Monday in six years, nearly all of which he spent in prison.

Leszek Moczulski, a lawyer and journalist whose group is known by its initials in Polish as KPN, said the amnesty has created a "new political situation in Poland" that "allows for the possibility of serious and responsible dialogue" between the authorities and opposition groups.

At the same time, Moczulski said, a number of political prisoners remain in jail. He said these include an undetermined number of little-known activists sentenced under non-political offenses and a Roman Catholic priest, Father Sylvester Zych.

Zych was sentenced to four years in prison in 1982, a term later increased to six, for allegedly hiding a pistol that two students had used in a shooting in which a police sergeant died.

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