Show trial

A show trial is a public trial in which the judicial authorities have already determined the guilt of the defendant. The actual trial has as its only goal the presentation of both the accusation and the verdict to the public so they will serve as both an impressive example and a warning to other would-be dissidents or transgressors. [1]Show trials tend to be retributive rather than corrective and they are also conducted for propagandistic purposes. The term was first recorded in the 1930s.


Protest in Hong Kong against the detention of Liuxiaobo 11Feb
Political protest in Hong Kong against the detention of Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, 2010

Following the formation of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the Communist Party of China under Mao Zedong began a massive socioeconomic and political campaign called the Great Leap Forward, which lasted circa 1958–1961. During this time, many thousands of people classified as elements of the bourgeois like wealthy landlords were rounded up and given show trials, with some being sentenced to death.

Between 1 and 2 million landlords were executed as counterrevolutionaries in Communist China.[2]

After the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989, show trials were given to "rioters and counter-revolutionaries" involved in the protests and the subsequent military massacre.[3]

Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo was given a show trial in 2009.[4]

Chinese writer and dissident Ma Jian argued that Gu Kailai, the wife of purged Communist Chinese leader Bo Xilai, was given a show trial in 2012.[5]

Middle East

Judiciary in countries such as Bahrain and Saudi Arabia is completely dependent on the wishes and wants of the governing regimes. During their show trials, Human rights activists and opposition figures are routinely given harsh verdicts in predetermined rulings by the kangaroo courts.[6][7][8]


The United Nations human rights office[9] and various NGOs[10] expressed "deep alarm" after an Egyptian Minya Criminal Court sentenced 529 people to death in a single hearing on 25 March 2014. The judgment was condemned as a violation of international law.[11] By May 2014, approximately 16,000 people (and as high as more than 40,000 by one independent count)[12] have been imprisoned after the 2013 Egyptian coup d'état in July 2013.[13] Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi was sentenced to death on 16 May 2015, along with 120 others.[14]


After the failed coup attempt in 2016, the government of Turkey blamed the Gülen movement for the coup and authorities have arrested thousands of soldiers and judges.[15] This was followed by the dismissal, detention or suspension of over 160,000 officials.[16]

Soviet Union

Radek's action
Prosecutor General Andrey Vyshinsky (centre), reading the 1937 indictment against Karl Radek during the 2nd Moscow Trial

As early as 1922, Lenin advocated staging several "model trials" ("показательный процесс", literally "demonstrative trial", "a process showing an example") in Soviet Russia and the Soviet Ukraine.[17]

Show trials were common during Joseph Stalin's political repressions, such as the Moscow Trials of the Great Purge period (1937–38).

The Soviet authorities staged the actual trials meticulously. If defendants refused to "cooperate"—i.e., to admit guilt for their alleged and mostly fabricated crimes—they did not go on public trial, but suffered execution nonetheless. This happened, for example during the prosecution of the so-called Labour Peasant Party, a party invented in the late 1920s by the OGPU, which, in particular, assigned the notable economist Alexander Chayanov (1888-1937, arrested in 1930) to it.

Some solid public evidence of what really happened during the Moscow Trials came to the West through the Dewey Commission (1937). After the collapse of the Soviet Union (1991), more information became available. This discredited the New York Times reporter Walter Duranty, who claimed at the time that these trials were actually fair.

Eastern Europe

Proces Pileckiego 1948-2jpg
Captain Witold Pilecki, former prisoner at Auschwitz during a show trial conducted by communist authorities in Poland in 1948

Following some dissent within ruling communist parties throughout the Eastern Bloc, especially after the 1948 Tito–Stalin split,[18][19] several party purges occurred, with several hundred thousand members purged in several countries.[18][20] In addition to rank-and-file member purges, prominent communists were purged, with some subjected to public show trials.[20] These were more likely to be instigated, and sometimes orchestrated, by the Kremlin or even Stalin himself, as he had done in the earlier Moscow Trials.[21]

Such high-ranking party show trials included those of Koçi Xoxe in Albania and Traicho Kostov in Bulgaria, who were purged and arrested.[19] After Kostov was executed, Bulgarian leaders sent Stalin a telegram thanking him for the help.[21] In Romania, Lucreţiu Pătrăşcanu, Ana Pauker and Vasile Luca were arrested, with Pătrăşcanu being executed.[20]


In 2015, a Serbian court invalidated Mihailović's conviction. The court held that it had been a Communist political show trial that was controlled by the government. The court concluded that Mihailović had not received a fair trial. Mihailović was, therefore, fully rehabilitated.[22][23][24]


Stalin's NKVD emissary coordinated with Hungarian General Secretary Mátyás Rákosi and his ÁVH head the way the show trial of Hungarian Minister of Interior László Rajk should go, and he was later executed.[21]


The Rajk trials in Hungary led Moscow to warn Czechoslovakia's parties that enemy agents had penetrated high into party ranks, and when a puzzled Rudolf Slánský and Klement Gottwald inquired what they could do, Stalin's NKVD agents arrived to help prepare subsequent trials.

The Czechoslovak Communist party subsequently arrested Slánský himself, Vladimír Clementis, Ladislav Novomeský and Gustáv Husák (Clementis was later executed).[20] The Slánský show trial began. Slánský and eleven others were convicted together of being "Trotskyist-zionist-titoist-bourgeois-nationalist traitors" in one series of show trials, after which they were executed and their ashes were mixed with material being used to fill roads on the outskirts of Prague.[20] By the time of the Slánský trials, the Kremlin had been arguing that Israel, like Yugoslavia, had bitten the Soviet hand that had fed it, and thus the trials took an overtly anti-Semitic tone, with eleven of the fourteen defendants tried with Slánský being Jewish.[25]

The Soviets generally directed show trial methods throughout the Eastern Bloc, including a procedure in which confessions and evidence from leading witnesses could be extracted by any means, including threatening to torture the witnesses’ wives and children.[26] The higher-ranking the party member, generally the more harsh the torture that was inflicted upon him.[26] For the show trial of Hungarian Interior Minister János Kádár, who one year earlier had attempted to force a confession of Rajk in his show trial, regarding "Vladimir" the questioner of Kádár:[26]

Vladimir had but one argument: blows. They had begun to beat Kádár. They had smeared his body with mercury to prevent his pores from breathing. He had been writhing on the floor when a newcomer had arrived. The newcomer was Vladimir’s father, Mihály Farkas. Kádár was raised from the ground. Vladimir stepped close. Two henchmen pried Kádár’s teeth apart, and the colonel, negligently, as if this were the most natural thing in the world, urinated into his mouth.

The evidence was often not just non-existent but absurd, with Hungarian George Paloczi-Horváth’s party interrogators delightedly exclaiming "We knew all the time—we have it here in writing—that you met professor Szentgyörgyi not in Istanbul, but in Constantinople."[25] In another case, the Hungarian ÁVH secret police also condemned another party member as a Nazi accomplice with a document that had actually been previously displayed in glass cabinet of the Institute of the Working Class Movement as an example of a Gestapo forgery.[25] The trials themselves were "shows", with each participant having to learn a script and conduct repeated rehearsals before the performance.[25] In the Slánský trial, when the judge skipped one of the scripted questions, the better-rehearsed Slánský answered the one which should have been asked.[25]


As the end of the 1989 Romanian Revolution neared, First Secretary of the Communist Party Nicolae Ceaușescu and his wife Elena were condemned to death and shot dead by a firing squad after a Stalinist-style trial in a kangaroo court.[27]

Western Europe

  • The Cadaver Synod was the posthumous trial of Catholic Pope Formosus held in 897.
  • The Dreyfus affair was a show trial in France in 1894, where a Jewish captain, Alfred Dreyfus, was accused and convicted of spying for the German Empire and exiled.
  • The Kapenguria Six were leading Kenyan nationalists who were subjected to a show trial by the British in 1952–53, and imprisoned thereafter in Northern Kenya.
  • The 2019 trial against Catalan pro-independence leaders by Spain has been denounced by Amnesty International and the largest Spanish judge association Jueces para la democracia as well as 100 of Spain's top jurists in an open letter as being a gross violation of the defendants' rights to protest, freedom of speech and association without no credible legal grounds. Several top Spanish constitutional law professors such as Javier Pérez Royo have denounced the trial as a legal farce plagued by irregularities with a verdict written beforehand.

Nazi Germany

Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazi government established a large number of Sondergerichte that were frequently used to prosecute those hostile to the regime. The People's Court was a kangaroo court established in 1934 to handle political crimes after several of the defendants at the Reichstag fire Trial were acquitted. Between 1933 and 1945, an estimated 12,000 Germans were killed on the orders of the "special courts" set up by the Nazi regime.[28]

See also


  1. ^ OED (2014): "show trial".
  2. ^ Busky, Donald F. (2002). Communism in History and Theory. Greenwood Publishing Group. p.11.
  3. ^ Show Trials in China: After Tiananmen Square, Mark Findlay, Journal of Law and Society, Vol. 16, No. 3 (Autumn, 1989), pp. 352-359. Published by Wiley-Blackwell
  4. ^ "Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo jailed for subversion". BBC News. 25 December 2009.
  5. ^ China’s Show Trial of the Century, Ma Jian, Project Syndicate, 2012-08-20
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ Cumming-Bruce, Nick (25 March 2014). "U.N. Expresses Alarm Over Egyptian Death Sentences". The New York Times.
  10. ^ "Egypt: Shocking Death Sentences Follow Sham Trial – Human Rights Watch".
  11. ^ "Egyptian court sentences nearly 530 to death". Washington Post. 24 March 2014. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014.
  12. ^ A coronation flop: President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi fails to bring enough voters to the ballot box,
  13. ^ "Egypt sentences to death 529 supporters of Mohamed Morsi". The Guardian. 24 March 2014.
  14. ^ Hendawi, Hamza (16 May 2015). "Ousted Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi Sentenced to Death". Archived from the original on 26 May 2015. Retrieved 22 May 2015.
  15. ^ "The Scale of Turkey's Purge Is Nearly Unprecedented". The New York Times. 2 August 2016. Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  16. ^ Turkey fires 3,900 in second post-referendum purge,, 29 April 2017
  17. ^ Chase, William (2005). "12: Stalin as producer: the Moscow show trials and the construction of mortal threats". In Davies, Sarah; Harris, James (eds.). Stalin: A New History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. p. 226-227. ISBN 9781139446631. Retrieved 2018-09-25. Lenin appreciated the power of show trials and was keen to use them [...]. [...] In a February 1922 letter [...] Lenin recommended 'staging a series of model trials' that would administer 'quick and forceful repression' in 'Moscow, Piter [Petrograd], Kharkov and several other important centres'.
  18. ^ a b Bideleux & Jeffries 2007, p. 477
  19. ^ a b Crampton 1997, p. 261
  20. ^ a b c d e Crampton 1997, p. 262
  21. ^ a b c Crampton 1997, p. 263
  22. ^ "Court rehabilitates WW2-era Chetnik leader Draza Mihailovic - English - on". Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  23. ^ "Serbia Rehabilitates WWII Chetnik Leader Mihailovic". Retrieved 4 January 2019.
  24. ^ "Draza Mihailovic rehabilitated", May 14, 2015, InSerbia.
  25. ^ a b c d e Crampton 1997, p. 265
  26. ^ a b c Crampton 1997, p. 264
  27. ^ Nicolae și Elena Ceaușescu: „Împreună am luptat, să murim împreună!“ Adevărul, 19 December 2009.
  28. ^ Peter Hoffmann "The History of the German Resistance, 1933-1945"p.xiii


  • Bideleux, Robert; Jeffries, Ian (2007), A History of Eastern Europe: Crisis and Change, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-36626-7
  • Crampton, R. J. (1997), Eastern Europe in the twentieth century and after, Routledge, ISBN 0-415-16422-2
  • Hodos, George H. Show Trials: Stalinist Purges in Eastern Europe, 1948–1954. New York, Westport (Conn.), and London: Praeger, 1987.
  • Showtrials Website of the European Union
  • Balázs Szalontai, Show trials. In: Ruud van Dijk et al. (eds.), Encyclopedia of the Cold War (London and New York: Routledge, 2008), pp. 783–786. Downloadable at

External links

Media related to Show trials at Wikimedia Commons

Antisemitism in the Soviet Union

The 1917 Russian Revolution overthrew a centuries-old regime of official antisemitism in the Russian Empire, including its Pale of Settlement. However, the previous legacy of antisemitism was continued by the Soviet state, especially under Stalin, who spread anti-Jewish conspiracy theories through his propaganda network. Antisemitism in the Soviet Union reached new heights after 1948 during the campaign against the "rootless cosmopolitan", in which numerous Yiddish-writing poets, writers, painters and sculptors were killed or arrested. This culminated in the so-called Doctors' plot, in which a group of doctors (almost all of whom were Jewish) were subject to a show trial for supposedly having plotted to assassinate Stalin.

Francisco Ferrer

Francisco Ferrer Guardia (1859–1909) was a radical freethinker, anarchist, and educationist behind a network of secular, private, libertarian schools in and around Barcelona. His execution, following a revolt in Barcelona, propelled Ferrer into martyrdom and grew an international movement of radicals and liberals, who established schools in his model and promoted his schooling approach.

Ferrer was raised on a farm near Barcelona, where he developed republican and anti-clerical convictions. As a train conductor, he transmitted messages for the Republican leader Manuel Ruiz Zorilla, exiled in France. Following a failed Republican uprising in 1885, Ferrer too moved to Paris with his family, where they stayed for 16 years. Ferrer began to explore anarchism and education. At the turn of the century, Ferrer had resolved to open a libertarian school modeled on Paul Robin's Prévost orphanage school. A large inheritance from a Parisian tutee provided the means to do so.

Upon returning to Barcelona in 1901, Ferrer founded the Barcelona Modern School, Escuela Moderna, which sought to provide a secular, libertarian curriculum as an alternative to the religious dogma and compulsory lessons common within Spanish schools. Ferrer's pedagogy borrowed from a tradition of 18th century rationalism and 19th century romanticism. He held that children should wield freewheeling liberties at the expense of conformity, regulation, and discipline. His school eschewed punishments, rewards, and exams, and encouraged practical experience over academic study. The school hosted lectures for adults, a school for teacher training, and a radical printing press, which printed textbooks and the school's journal. Around 120 offshoots of the school spread throughout Spain. The rapidity of Ferrer's rise troubled Spanish church and state authorities, who viewed the school as a front for insurrectionary activity. Ferrer was held in association with the 1906 assassination attempt on the Spanish King, which was used as a pretext for closing the school, but was ultimately released without conviction under international pressure a year later. Ferrer traveled Europe as an advocate of the Spanish revolutionary cause, founded a libertarian education advocacy organization, and reopened his press.

In mid-1909, Ferrer was arrested and accused of orchestrating a week of insurrection known as Barcelona's Tragic Week. Though Ferrer's involvement was likely not as blameless as intimated by his peers, he did not mastermind the events as charged. The ensuing court case, remembered as a show trial by a kangaroo court, resulted in Ferrer's execution and triggered international outcry, as Ferrer was widely believed to be innocent at the time of his death. He was prominently memorialized in writing, monuments, and demonstrations across three continents. The protest became an movement to propagate his educational ideas, and Modern Schools in his name sprouted across the United States and Europe, reaching into Brazil and Asia.

Genrikh Yagoda

Genrikh Grigoryevich Yagoda (7 November 1891 – 15 March 1938), born Yenokh Gershevich Iyeguda was a secret police official who served as director of the NKVD, the Soviet Union's security and intelligence agency, from 1934 to 1936. Appointed by Joseph Stalin, Yagoda supervised the arrest, show trial, and execution of the Old Bolsheviks Lev Kamenev and Grigory Zinoviev, climactic events of the Great Purge. Yagoda supervised the construction of the White Sea–Baltic Canal with Naftaly Frenkel, using penal labor from the GULAG system, during which 12,000–25,000 laborers died. He commanded the forced collectivization and is one of the main responsible people for the great hunger in Ukraine, responsible for the deaths of up to 10 million people and the deportation of 5 million Russian and Ukrainian peasants.

Like many Soviet NKVD officers who conducted political repression, Yagoda himself became ultimately a victim of the Purge. He was demoted from the directorship of the NKVD in favor of Nikolai Yezhov in 1936 and arrested in 1937. Charged with the crimes of wrecking, espionage, Trotskyism and conspiracy, Yagoda was a defendant at the Trial of the Twenty-One, the last of the major Soviet show trials of the 1930s. Following his confession at the trial, Yagoda was found guilty and shot.

Grigory Zinoviev

Grigory Yevseyevich Zinoviev (September 23 [O.S. September 11] 1883 – August 25, 1936), born Hirsch Apfelbaum, known also under the name Ovsei-Gershon Aronovich Radomyslsky, was a Bolshevik revolutionary and a Soviet Communist politician.

Zinoviev was one of the seven members of the first Politburo, founded in 1917 in order to manage the Bolshevik Revolution: Lenin, Zinoviev, Kamenev, Trotsky, Stalin, Sokolnikov and Bubnov. Zinoviev is best remembered as the longtime head of the Communist International and the architect of several failed attempts to transform Germany into a communist country during the early 1920s. He was in competition against Joseph Stalin who eliminated him from the Soviet political leadership in 1926.

Zinoviev was a chief defendant in a 1936 show trial, the Trial of the Sixteen, that marked the start of the so-called Great Terror in the USSR and resulted in his execution the day after his conviction in August 1936.

Zinoviev was the alleged author of the Zinoviev letter to British communists, urging revolution, and published just before the 1924 general election, apparently to provoke a right-wing reaction. The letter is widely dismissed as a forgery.

Infamous Decade

The Infamous Decade (in Spanish, Década Infame) in Argentina is the name given to the period of time that began in 1930 with the coup d'état against President Hipólito Yrigoyen by José Félix Uriburu and resulted in the rising to power of Juan Perón after the Military coup of 1943. This decade was marked by significant rural exodus, many small rural landowners being ruined by the Great Depression, which in turn pushed the country towards import substitution industrialization. The poor economic results of the policy and popular discontent led to another coup in 1943, the "Revolution of '43", by the Grupo de Oficiales Unidos (GOU), the nationalist faction of the Armed Forces, against acting president Ramón Castillo, putting an end to the Infamous Decade.

József Mindszenty

József Mindszenty [jo:ʒɛf mindsɛnti] (29 March 1892 – 6 May 1975) was the Prince Primate, Archbishop of Esztergom, cardinal, and leader of the Catholic Church in Hungary from 2 October 1945 to 18 December 1973. According to Encyclopædia Britannica, for five decades "he personified uncompromising opposition to fascism and communism in Hungary". During World War II, he was imprisoned by the pro-Nazi Arrow Cross Party. After the war, he opposed communism and the communist persecution in his country. As a result, he was tortured and given a life sentence in a 1949 show trial that generated worldwide condemnation, including a United Nations resolution. After eight years in prison, he was freed in the Hungarian Revolution of 1956 and granted political asylum by the United States embassy in Budapest, where Mindszenty lived for the next fifteen years. He was finally allowed to leave the country in 1971. He died in exile in 1975 in Vienna, Austria.

Moscow Trials

The Moscow Trials were a series of show trials held in the Soviet Union at the instigation of Joseph Stalin between 1936 and 1938 against so-called Trotskyists and members of Right Opposition of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. There were three Moscow Trials: the Case of the Trotskyite-Zinovievite Terrorist Center (Zinoviev-Kamenev Trial, aka "Trial of the Sixteen," 1936), the Case of the Anti-Soviet Trotskyist Center (Pyatakov-Radek Trial, 1937), and the Case of the Anti-Soviet "Bloc of Rights and Trotskyites" (Bukharin-Rykov Trial, aka "Trial of the Twenty-One," 1938).

The defendants of these were Old Bolshevik party leaders and top officials of the Soviet secret police. Most defendants were charged under Article 58 of the RSFSR Penal Code with conspiring with the western powers to assassinate Stalin and other Soviet leaders, dismember the Soviet Union, and restore capitalism.

The Moscow Trials led to the execution of many of the defendants. They are generally seen as part of Stalin's Great Purge, an attempt to rid the party of current or prior oppositionists, especially but not exclusively Trotskyists, and any leading Bolshevik cadre from the time of the Russian Revolution or earlier, who might even potentially become a figurehead for the growing discontent in the Soviet populace resulting from Stalin's mismanagement of the economy. Stalin's hasty industrialisation during the period of the First Five Year Plan and the brutality of the forced collectivisation of agriculture had led to an acute economic and political crisis in 1928-33, a part of the global problem known as the Great Depression, and to enormous suffering on the part of the Soviet workers and peasants. Stalin was acutely conscious of this fact and took steps to prevent it taking the form of an opposition inside the Communist Party of the Soviet Union to his increasingly autocratic rule.

PAX Association

The PAX Association (Polish: Stowarzyszenie PAX) was a pro-communist Catholic organization created in 1947 in the People's Republic of Poland at the onset of the Stalinist period. The association published the Słowo Powszechne daily for almost fifty years between 1947 and 1993 with an average of 312 issues annually.The first editor-in-chief of Słowo Powszechne (circulation: 40,000) was Wojciech Kętrzyński (d. 1983) from KN, grandson of historian Wojciech Kętrzyński. In 1982 the newspaper adjusted its name to Słowo Powszechne: dziennik Stowarzyszenia PAX (the "PAX Association Daily"). The publication closed only when the PAX ceased to function in 1993, following the collapse of communism; however, the facsimile of the association was reestablished in 1993 under a different name: the Catholic association "Civitas Christiana".Notably, in 1953 the PAX gave its support to the Stalinist show trial of the Kraków Curia pronouncing death penalties for the Catholic priests accused of treason, and took over the publication of the Catholic weekly magazine Tygodnik Powszechny until the Polish October of 1956.

Public trial

Public trial or open trial is a trial open to public, as opposed to the secret trial. The term should not be confused with show trial.

Pál Szalai

Pál Szalai (September 3, 1915 – January 16, 1994) also spelled Pál Szalay and anglicized as Paul Sterling was a high-ranking member of the Budapest police force and the Hungarian Arrow Cross Party during World War II.

Honored as Righteous among the Nations on April 7, 2009.

Samlesbury witches

The Samlesbury witches were three women from the Lancashire village of Samlesbury – Jane Southworth, Jennet Bierley, and Ellen Bierley – accused by a 14-year-old girl, Grace Sowerbutts, of practising witchcraft. Their trial at Lancaster Assizes in England on 19 August 1612 was one in a series of witch trials held there over two days, among the most famous in English history. The trials were unusual for England at that time in two respects: Thomas Potts, the clerk to the court, published the proceedings in his The Wonderfull Discoverie of Witches in the Countie of Lancaster; and the number of the accused found guilty and hanged was unusually high, ten at Lancaster and another at York. All three of the Samlesbury women were acquitted however.

The charges against the women included child murder and cannibalism. In contrast, the others tried at the same assizes, who included the Pendle witches, were accused of maleficium – causing harm by witchcraft. The case against the three women collapsed "spectacularly" when the chief prosecution witness, Grace Sowerbutts, was exposed by the trial judge to be "the perjuring tool of a Catholic priest".Many historians, notably Hugh Trevor-Roper, have suggested that the witch trials of the 16th and 17th centuries were a consequence of the religious struggles of the period, with both the Catholic and Protestant Churches determined to stamp out what they regarded as heresy. The trial of the Samlesbury witches is perhaps one clear example of that trend; it has been described as "largely a piece of anti-Catholic propaganda", and even as a show-trial, to demonstrate that Lancashire, considered at that time to be a wild and lawless region, was being purged not only of witches but also of "popish plotters" (i.e. recusant Catholics).

Slánský trial

The Slánský trial (officially Proces s protistátním spikleneckým centrem Rudolfa Slánského meaning "Trial of anti-state conspiracy centered around Rudolf Slánský") was a show trial against elements of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia (KSČ) who were thought to have adopted the line of the maverick Yugoslav leader Josip Broz Tito. On 20 November 1952, Rudolf Slánský, General Secretary of the KSČ, and thirteen other leading party members, were accused of participating in a Trotskyite-Titoite-Zionist conspiracy and convicted: eleven including Slánský were hanged in Prague on December 3, and three were sentenced to life imprisonment. The state prosecutor at the trial in Prague was Josef Urválek.

Stalinist show trial of the Kraków Curia

The Stalinist show trial of the Kraków Curia was a public trial of four Roman Catholic priests and three lay persons of the Kraków Curia were accused by the Communist authorities in the People's Republic of Poland of subversion and spying for the United States.The staged trial, based on the Soviet Moscow Trials, was held before the Military District Court of Kraków from January 21 to 26, 1953, at a public-event-hall of the Szadkowski Plant.The court, headed by hardline Stalinist Judge Mieczysław Widaj, announced its verdict on January 27, 1953, sentencing to death Father Józef Lelito, Fr. Michał Kowalik, and Fr. Edward Chachlica. The priests were stripped of all civil and constitutional rights, but their death penalties were subsequently not enforced.

The remaining defendants were sentenced to sentences ranging from six years in prison to life (Fr. Franciszek Szymonek). The fear-inspiring court judgments were endorsed politically by the Resolution of the Polish Writers Union in Kraków on February 8, 1953, signed by many prominent members. A series of similar trials followed.

State Protection Authority

The State Protection Authority (Hungarian: Államvédelmi Hatóság or ÁVH) was the secret police of the People's Republic of Hungary from 1945 until 1956. It was conceived as an external appendage of the Soviet Union's secret police forces and gained an indigenous reputation for brutality during a series of purges beginning in 1948, intensifying in 1949 and ending in 1953. In 1953 Joseph Stalin died, and Imre Nagy (a moderate reformer) was appointed Prime Minister of Hungary. Under Nagy's first government from 1953 to 1955, the ÁVH was gradually reined in.

The Purple Heart

The Purple Heart is a 1944 American war film directed by Lewis Milestone. The film stars Dana Andrews, Richard Conte, Farley Granger, Don "Red" Barry and Trudy Marshall. Eighteen-year-old Farley Granger had a supporting role.

The Purple Heart is a dramatization of the "show trial" of a number of US airmen by the Japanese during World War II. The film is loosely based on the trial of eight airmen who took part in the April 18, 1942, Doolittle Raid. Three were executed and one died as a POW. This film was the first to deal directly with the treatment of POWs by the Japanese and ran into opposition from the US War Department which was afraid that such films would provoke reprisals from the Japanese.

Trial of Saddam Hussein

The Trial of Saddam Hussein was the trial of the deposed President of Iraq Saddam Hussein by the Iraqi Interim Government for crimes against humanity during his time in office.

The Coalition Provisional Authority voted to create the Iraqi Special Tribunal (IST), consisting of five Iraqi judges, on 9 December 2003, to try Saddam Hussein and his aides for charges of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide.Critics viewed the trial as a show trial that did not meet international standards on the right to a fair trial. Amnesty International stated that the trial was "unfair," and Human Rights Watch judged that Saddam's execution "follows a flawed trial and marks a significant step away from the rule of law in Iraq." Several months before the trial took place, Salem Chalabi, the former head of the Iraq Special Tribunal (which was established to try Hussein), accused interim Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi of pushing for a hasty show trial and execution, stating: "Show trials followed by speedy executions may help the interim government politically in the short term but will be counterproductive for the development of democracy and the rule of law in Iraq in the long term."Saddam was captured by U.S. forces on 13 December 2003. He remained in custody by United States forces at Camp Cropper in Baghdad, along with eleven senior Ba'athist officials. Particular attention was paid during the trial to activities in violent campaigns against the Kurds in the north during the Iran–Iraq War, against the Shiites in the south in 1991 and 1999 to put down revolts, and in Dujail after a failed assassination attempt on 8 July 1982, during the Iran–Iraq War. Saddam asserted in his defense that he had been unlawfully overthrown, and was still the president of Iraq.

The first trial began before the Iraqi Special Tribunal on 19 October 2005. At this trial Saddam and seven other defendants were tried for crimes against humanity with regard to events that took place after a failed assassination attempt in Dujail in 1982 by members of the Islamic Dawa Party (see also human rights abuses in Iraq under Saddam Hussein). A second and separate trial began on 21 August 2006, trying Saddam and six co-defendants for genocide during the Anfal military campaign against the Kurds of northern Iraq.

On 5 November 2006, Saddam was sentenced to death by hanging. On 26 December, Saddam's appeal was rejected and the death sentence upheld. No further appeals were taken and Saddam was ordered executed within 30 days of that date. The date and place of the execution were secret until the sentence was carried out. Saddam Hussein was executed by hanging on 30 December 2006. With his death, all other charges were dropped.

Verona trial

The Verona Trial (Italian: processo di Verona) was a show trial held in January 1944 in the Italian Social Republic (ISR) to punish - by five almost immediately executed death sentences and one 30-year imprisonment - the members of the Grand Council of Fascism who had committed the offence of voting for Benito Mussolini's removal from power in the Kingdom of Italy and had later been arrested by Mussolini's forces.

This was a prominent event of the period of the Second World War.

Witold Pilecki

Witold Pilecki (13 May 1901 – 25 May 1948; Polish pronunciation: [ˈvitɔlt piˈlɛt͡skʲi]; codenames Roman Jezierski, Tomasz Serafiński, Druh, Witold) was a Polish cavalry officer, intelligence agent, and resistance leader. He served as a Rotmistrz (captain) with the Polish Army in the Polish–Soviet War, Second Polish Republic, and World War II. He was also a co-founder of the Secret Polish Army (Tajna Armia Polska), a resistance group in German-occupied Poland, and later a member of the underground Home Army (Armia Krajowa). He was the author of Witold's Report, the first comprehensive Allied intelligence report on Auschwitz concentration camp and the Holocaust. He was a Roman Catholic.During World War II, Pilecki volunteered for a Polish resistance operation that involved being imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp in order to gather intelligence and later escape. While in the camp, he organized a resistance movement and informed the Western Allies of Nazi Germany's Auschwitz atrocities as early as 1941. He escaped from the camp in 1943 after nearly 2½ years of imprisonment. He took part as a combatant in the Warsaw Uprising in August–October 1944. He remained loyal to the London-based Polish government-in-exile after the Communist takeover of Poland, and he was arrested for espionage in 1947 by the Stalinist secret police (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa) on charges of working for "foreign imperialism", a euphemism for British Intelligence. He was executed after a show trial in 1948. Information was suppressed about his exploits and fate until 1989 by the Communist regime in Poland.Pilecki is considered as "one of the greatest wartime heroes" because of his efforts. Poland's Chief Rabbi Michael Schudrich writes in The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery: "When God created the human being, God had in mind that we should all be like Captain Witold Pilecki, of blessed memory." British historian Norman Davies writes: "If there was an Allied hero who deserved to be remembered and celebrated, this was a person with few peers." Polish ambassador Ryszard Schnepf described Pilecki as a "diamond among Poland's heroes" and "the highest example of Polish patriotism" at the commemoration event of International Holocaust Remembrance Day held in the US Holocaust Memorial Museum on 27 January 2013.

Ágoston Valentiny

Ágoston Valentiny (6 October 1888 – 21 August 1958) was a Hungarian politician and jurist, who served as Minister of Justice in the Interim National Government. He was born into a working-class family with six children. His father was a machine fitter and engineer. Valentiny finished his law studies in Kolozsvár. He joined the Hungarian Social Democratic Party on 1 January 1919. During the German occupation in 1944 he was interned. After the "Liberation" of Szeged he became mayor of the town. He was a member of the Interim National Assembly.

After the 1945 elections he had to resign from the ministerial position because of the communists' attacks. After that he worked as a lawyer. He was arrested and sentenced in a show trial in 1950. He was set free after five years. After his death he was rehabilitated.

Types of misconduct
False evidence
Wrongful convictions
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