A communist-era police officer suspected of opening fire during the brutal suppression of a Polish miners’ strike in 1981 has been detained in Croatia.
The man, whose name has been withheld under Polish privacy laws, was a member of a special platoon in the communist riot police which fired at miners on December 16, 1981, killing nine people and wounding 21 others, state news agency PAP reported.
Croatian authorities decided to hand him over to Poland on Thursday after he was detained on May 17, according to PAP.
“Justice should be served, even years after the event,” Poland’s Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said.
Miners from the Wujek coal mine in the southern Polish city of Katowice went on strike on 13 December, 1981, the day that martial law was declared by the communist authorities to stifle rising opposition headed by the Solidarity movement.
The strikers called for an end to martial law, during which the authorities brought tanks to the streets, cut telephone lines and introduced a strict curfew.
In June 2007, 15 former members of the platoon were given prison terms for their part in the killings, most sentenced to two-and-a-half to three years in jail, except for their former platoon commander, who was sentenced to 11 years.