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Poland's ex-dictator Jaruzelski in hospital.

Summary: Warsaw, Poland:Poland's communist-era dictator General Wojciech Jaruzelski has been hospitalised for at least a week, ...

Warsaw, Poland :Poland's communist-era dictator General Wojciech Jaruzelski has been hospitalised for at least a week, a spokesman said Thursday, as the country commemorated his 1981 military crackdown. "The general's life isn't in danger, and after his haematological problems have been stabilised he could be released week," Pitor Dabrowiecki, spokesman of Warsaw's military hospital, told AFP. Jaruzelski, 89, was rushed to hospital Wednesday with acute rhinorrhagia -- the medical term for a profuse nosebleed. The former strongman has a history of ill health, which since 2011 has kept him away from his trial for imposing martial law illegally. He faces a 10-year jail term if convicted. Overnight Wednesday, around 350 people gathered outside Jaruzelski's Warsaw home to hold a commemoration ceremony for victims of his crackdown. Official events were scheduled nationwide Thursday. Jaruzelski wielded power from 1981 until the communist regime crumbled in 1989, has suffered heart and breathing problems for years. In July last year he said he was suffering lymphatic cancer. He remains a deeply divisive figure in Poland due to his decision to launch a military crackdown on the independent trade union movement Solidarity. Led by shipyard electrician Lech Walesa, Solidarity had won grudging recognition from the regime in August 1980 after a wave of strikes, and its membership snowballed to take in one Pole in four. On December 13, 1981, Jaruzelski opted to impose martial law. The crackdown claimed several dozen lives, most notoriously those of nine striking miners gunned down by security forces. Jaruzelski has long argued that he aimed to ward off a potentially bloody invasion by Poland's Soviet allies, but critics say the real goal was to buttress his regime. Surveys show that three decades later, 43 percent of Poles believe martial law was justified, 35 percent disagree and 22 percent have no view. Jaruzelski eventually decided to begin talks with Solidarity, which had survived martial law underground. The negotiations paved the way for a landmark semi-free election in 1989 which was the death knell of his regime and sped up the collapse of the entire Soviet bloc two years later.

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Publication:Times of Oman (Muscat, Oman)
Geographic Code:4EXPO
Date:Dec 13, 2012
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