Poland the Cost of Shaming the State

Tears and candles as a priest's killers get lengthy sentences

Grzegorz Piotrowski, the cashiered secret-police captain who was in turn arrogant and stony-faced during the six-week trial, finally broke down and wept last week. Moments before, Judge Artur Kujawa had sentenced Piotrowski to 25 years in prison for the brutal murder of Father Jerzy Popieluszko. As Kujawa dryly explained his conduct of the trial, Piotrowski dropped his head to the wooden railing of the dock and wept.

He did so not out of remorse but relief, for he could have fared much worse: the state prosecutor had requested the death penalty. Also sentenced to long terms for aiding Piotrowski in the...

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