‘We now have our first political prisoners since 1989’ – Polish police arrest PiS politicians at presidential palace

A “coup d’état” that will “disgrace Tusk’s regime for years”

editor: Remix News
author: Grzegorz Adamczyk
The leader of PiS Jarosław Kaczyński in front of the police headquarters in Warsaw, where demonstrators gathered to protest against the imprisonment of Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik. (source: X@OzdobaJacek)

There are fears that the left-liberal government of Donald Tusk has discarded all pretense of rule of law in Poland and embarked on a brutal police crackdown on his opponents. On Tuesday evening, Warsaw witnessed a dramatic police intervention at the presidential palace, resulting in the detention of Mariusz Kamiński, the former head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Administration, and his former deputy, Maciej Wąsik.

Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party, expressed his outrage, stating, “We now have our first political prisoners since 1989. This is scandalous. They were convicted because they fought crime, including those high in the social hierarchy. In short, we are witnessing a ferocity that reflects the nature of the current government, which itself has people in parliament hiding behind immunity. There is no order in Poland.”

The police action occurred while President Andrzej Duda was at another presidential residence, the Belweder, meeting with Belarusian community representatives and opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, according to Polish news outlet Do Rzeczy.

Following the arrest of Kamiński and Wąsik, hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the presidential palace, waving Polish white-and-red flags and displaying banners. Organizers announced a similar protest planned for Wednesday.

Protestors also assembled outside the police station on Grenadierów Street, where Kamiński and Wąsik were taken. The demonstrators chanted slogans like “political prisoners” and “down with the communists,” and sang the Polish national anthem. A police presence was noted in front of the building, and Law and Justice (PiS) party politicians, including party leader Kaczyński, also arrived at the scene.

PiS politicians also openly expressed their dismay on social media. On the X platform, Jacek Sasin criticized the action as a “coup d’état” that will “disgrace Tusk’s regime for years.”

Former Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki has called the total lawlessness under Tusk’s reign another “black page of Polish history.”

Piotr Müller questioned the legality of the arrests, pointing out: “Police enter the presidential palace to arrest opposition MPs pardoned by the president, arresting them despite the Supreme Court’s ruling overturning the Speaker of the Sejm’s order on the expiration of parliamentary mandates. The police state is accelerating. What’s next? Entering the Sejm to arrest more opposition MPs? Entering their parliamentary offices?”

Radosław Fogiel commented on the irony of Duda’s meeting with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, whose husband is a political prisoner in Belarus, while at the same time, police entered the presidential palace to detain Kamiński and Wąsik.

“Suddenly, there are more topics to discuss,” he noted.

Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik, former heads of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA), were convicted in December for their involvement in a land scandal, despite being pardoned by President Andrzej Duda in 2015 after a non-final verdict. Małgorzata Paprocka from the president’s office explained on Radio Zet that the pardon was legal and thoroughly reviewed by significant authorities in 2015. Kamiński and Wąsik have refused to acknowledge both the court’s verdict and the decision to strip them of their parliamentary mandates.

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