France battles Poland's anti-communist law

27th April 2007, Comments 0 comments

WARSAW, 27 avr 2007 (AFP) - France on Friday condemned moves by Polish authorities to strip former foreign minister Bronislaw Geremek of his European parliament mandate for refusing to say whether he collaborated with the communist era secret police.

WARSAW, 27 avr 2007 (AFP) - France on Friday condemned moves by Polish authorities to strip former foreign minister Bronislaw Geremek of his European parliament mandate for refusing to say whether he collaborated with the communist era secret police.

Geremek himself said in a newspaper interview that Poland under President  Lech Kaczynski and his twin brother, Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, was turning into a George Orwell novel.

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy called on the European Union and the European parliament to make official approaches to the Polish government over Geremek's case.

Geremek, a former Solidarity union and anti-communist activist, has become the centre of international protests over the extension of a law which delves into past links to the Polish secret police.

Geremek, 75, has refused to declare in writing whether he collaborated with the communist-era secret services.

"His moral authority, his commitment to Europe and his fight for freedom have made him a symbolic figure in Europe and above all for the values that Europe carries," Douste-Blazy said on French radio.

He said the European parliament should pass a resolution calling on Poland to end its threat to Geremek and that European foreign ministers should make their own call.

Douste-Blazy called the pressure put on Geremek "frightening".

Geremek fiercely condemned the new law being used against him in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El Pais published Friday.

He said "we are evolving in a universe which is like that of George Orwell," the famed author of novels "1984" and "Animal Farm", both indictments of totalitarian systems.

"This law is anti-democratic and that I decided not to obey it," he said.

Former Polish president and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Lech Walesa, said Poland's ruling Kaczynski twins have "betrayed" the ideals of the anti-communist Solidarity union and are endangering democracy.

"They have betrayed our ideals. And not just today and yesterday. They began to betray them a few years ago," Walesa said in an interview with the Italian daily La Repubblica.

Walesa, who won the Nobel Peace Prize for helping found Solidarity, accused the Kaczynski twins of acting out of "their personal desire for power and for their careers."

Walesa claimed this was "the main reason" for a new law which requires lawmakers, academics and others to file a declaration saying whether they collaborated with the communist-era secret police or risk losing their jobs.

The new measures drastically extend the dragnet of an existing law, which previously affected only lawmakers, government ministers and judges.

Those who do not file declarations saying whether or not they collaborated with the communist-era police risk losing their jobs.

"Such a (political) climate deeply injures people who find themselves accused. Now that (Polish) citizens are waking up, they must get organized. In the future, they must make better choices when they vote," Walesa said.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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