Poland lodges protest with Sweden over Stalinist-era judge

Poland has lodged an official protest with Sweden after a Swedish court turned down a request for the extradition of Stefan Michnik, a Stalinist-era judge who is accused of communist crimes.

The Swedish ambassador to Poland, Stefan Gullgren, was summoned to the foreign ministry in Warsaw.

Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk voiced Warsaw’s indignation over the decision by the Gothenburg court, according to which the crimes that Michnik committed in Poland decades ago were covered by a statute of limitations under Swedish law.

The Polish official told the Swedish ambassador that in Poland’s view, communist crimes are tantamount to crimes against humanity and are therefore not covered by a statute of limitations under international law.

The Swedish ambassador stressed that courts in his country are independent, adding that the verdict of the Gothenburg court may be subject to appeal.

Stefan Michnik is suspected of committing 30 crimes “bearing the hallmarks of crimes against humanity” in Warsaw in 1952 and 1953. They include issuing unlawful death sentences to anti-communist fighters.

The 89-year-old has lived in Sweden for decades and has Swedish citizenship.

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