‘He had been tortured’ – Kaczyński accuses Tusk of personally ordering hunger-striking MP to be force-fed, calls for new government

Poland's President Andrzej Duda, center, poses with former Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wasik, left, and former Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski, right, in Warsaw, Poland, Tuesday, January, 9, 2024. (AP Photo/President Palace/Jakub Szymczuk, File)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
4 Min Read

The leader of Poland’s main opposition party, Law and Justice (PiS), has said the country is facing an extraordinary situation for which the best solution is a transition period under a new government followed by elections. Jarosław Kaczyński added there was no other solution to a situation in which he claimed “the constitution has practically ceased to be binding.”

Speaking to journalists in the Sejm on Thursday, Kaczyński addressed what he called an “extraordinary situation,” saying, “The way out is a transition period, of course with a new government, and then elections. There’s no other way to resolve it.”

Kaczyński and his party have been involved in several significant clashes in recent weeks with the new left-liberal government run by Donald Tusk as a prime minister, and PiS has claimed the government is set on undermining democracy. The new government says its actions are motivated by a desire to return Poland to the rule of law after eight years of PiS government. 

One of the most heated disputes involved the case of the two PiS MPs, Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik, whose presidential pardons were effectively ignored and who were arrested inside the Presidential Palace and sent to jail to serve two-year prison sentences. 

This conflict has been resolved by the president pardoning them again, but there remains a dispute over their status as MPs. The ruling majority and its speaker Szymon Hołownia claim their mandates expired the day they were convicted by a court of law. However, PiS and President Duda contend that both are still MPs, as the original pardons are still valid and enable them to perform public functions. 

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The two MPs, Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik, were in prison for 14 days, and for most of that time they were on hunger strike in protest against their incarceration. On the very last day of his incarceration, Kamiński was force-fed. 

Journalists asked Kaczyński about their state of health, and he told them that one of them was not feeling too well since “he had been tortured” and said that the matter would be taken to the relevant European courts. He added that the decision to force-feed Kamiński “was taken at the very top and was a personal decision by Tusk, and therefore it is the prime minister who is accountable for the use of torture in Poland.”

Kaczyński justified his claim by explaining that the torture was specifically related to the force-feeding of Kamiński through a nasal tube when he has a curved nasal septum. Therefore, the procedure caused extreme pain, and this was done when it was known he would soon be released from prison. The PiS leader rejected talk of both of them seeming to be healthy when they left their places of detention, saying that “effects of torture are not always visible.”

On Wednesday, Mariusz Kamiński told TV Republika that on the last day of being in prison, he was strapped to a bed and then an attempt to force a tube up his nose was made, an attempt which was unsuccessful because of the curvature in his nasal septum. He was ultimately force-fed via his mouth. 

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