Pole finally cleared of Soviet-era slander charge

19th October 2011, Comments 0 comments

Fifty years after he was sentenced to prison for blaming Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev for a meat shortage in Poland, a Pole was finally cleared of wrong-doing Wednesday by Poland's supreme court.

Poland's ombudsman was successful in his "request of the Supreme Court to over-turn the court ruling made 50 years ago", court spokeswoman Teresa Pyzlak told AFP, but was not able to confirm whether the person in question was still alive.

In 1960, a man riding a bus near the central Polish city of Kielce identified only as Jan S. was nabbed by communist authorities for allegedly complaining: "It's Khrushchev's fault that we have no meat."

A year later he was convicted of "spreading false information to the detriment of the Polish state", an offence carrying a maximum five year prison sentence.

Leader of the Soviet Union between 1953-64, Khrushchev spearheaded the process of de-Stalinisation in the Soviet Union and satellite states but was also in charge of the crushing of a 1956 rebellion in Hungary.

He was perhaps most famous for triggering the Cuban missile crisis of 1962, by planning to instal nuclear missiles in Cuba and raising tensions between Moscow and Washington to a fever pitch during the Cold War.

© 2011 AFP

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