Walesa takes Poland's president to court

AP News
Posted: Nov 24, 2009 7:49 AM

A Warsaw court on Tuesday began hearing a lawsuit filed by Lech Walesa in which the Solidarity founder is demanding damages from Polish President Lech Kaczynski for having called Walesa a communist-era agent.

Walesa, a former Polish president and Nobel Peace laureate, is demanding that Kaczynski apologize and pay 100,000 zlotys ($37,000) damages.

As the hearing opened, Kaczynski's lawyer Rafal Kos demanded the case be dropped, arguing only a state tribunal was qualified to weigh cases concerning the nation's president.

Walesa's attorney said the case does not concern any presidential duties and that the Warsaw provincial court was the appropriate venue.

The judges said they would decide by Dec. 18 on the defense's motion.

In a 2008 TV interview Kaczynski said that Walesa was an agent codenamed Bolek under the communists in the early 1970s.

Walesa _ whose Solidarity movement in the 1980s helped trigger the collapse of communism in Poland and across the region _ denies that and has noted a court ruled in 2000 he was not a communist-era agent.

A book published last year by two historians alleges documents suggest Walesa did work as Bolek.

Neither politician was present at the opening of the hearing.

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