About 95 Poles imprisoned for refusing compulsory military duty were freed Wednesday under a new law that allows alternative service for conscientious objectors, the official PAP news agency said.

The law providing an alternative to compulsory military service - the first such measure in Eastern Europe - was passed by the Polish Parliament a week ago."It is a step in the right direction," said Jacek Czaputowicz, leader of the illegal Freedom and Peace movement, known by its Polish acronym as WIP.

Among those released were nine members of WIP and 86 members of the religious sect Jehovah's Witnesses, the agency said.

PAP said authorities did not release Slawomir Dutkiewicz, a leading WIP activist, because he refused to accept the alternative service.

"He is a total conscientious objector," Czaputowicz said.