In an unusual indictment alleging Communist police brutality, the Warsaw prosecutor's office said today it would press charges against two militiamen, two ambulance staff and two doctors in the sensitive case of a student here who died after being held by police.
The statement capped nearly four months of investigations into the death of Grzegorz Przemyk, 19, who died of internal injuries May 13.
It is extremely rare in Poland or other Eastern Bloc states for policemen to be charged publicly with such offenses. Przemyk's mother, Barbara Sadowska, is a well-known poet. Nine days before her son was detained for questioning by police, Sadowska was beaten with a chair by security agents who attacked a convent headquarters for a committee where she aids the families of jailed Solidarity union activists.
Przemyk's death touched the most disaffected elements of Polish society--youth, intellectuals, church activists and supporters of the outlawed Solidarity movement. Tens of thousands of mourners turned out for his funeral.
Asked her reaction to the charges announced today, Sadowska said: "For me it is important that the trial will be held because the society may be able to discover certain mechanisms about power in this country. It will be a kind of example, a document, though for the future rather than the past. It might also inhibit a little the actions of police." She added, "It may be worthwhile for the rulers to sacrifice two policemen in order to gain some credibility."
The prosecutor's statement cited "a slanderous and deceitful campaign by anti-socialist centers in the country and abroad" to portray the death of Przemyk as "an act of revenge for his mother's political activities." It said the campaign had "tried to convince society that the case will be hushed up."
The report said Przemyk had been drinking and was being carried on a friend's back when police stopped them. Przemyk was said to have refused to identify himself and was taken to a police station.
The report said he tried to grab a policeman's truncheon, which caused a scuffle. An "intervention ambulance" was summoned and Przemyk was taken to an emergency medical station. A psychiatrist recommended he be taken to a psychiatric hospital. Przemyk's mother intervened and was allowed to take him home. The next day, a doctor sent him to a hospital for an operation. He died shortly afterwards. The report said he suffered from acute peritonitis as a result of burst intestines and other internal injuries.
"The evidence gathered up to now," the report said, "makes it possible to assume that Grzegorz Przemyk sustained bodily injuries both while he was at the militia station and at the ambulance service compounds."