Cyprus Mail

Former Polish minister starts hunger strike in prison

former polish interior minister kaminski from pis gestures during a parliamentary session at the parliament in warsaw
Former Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski gestures during a parliamentary session in Warsaw

Former Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski said he had started a hunger strike as a “political prisoner” on Wednesday, a day after he was detained by police at the presidential palace and sent to jail on abuse of power charges.

The events mark a dramatic gear change in new Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s efforts to undo policies of his predecessors, the nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party, and punish those accused of wrongdoing during their time in power.

PiS faced accusations of subverting rule of law during their eight-year rule. Tusk’s pro-European coalition’s drive to bring Poland back in line with EU democratic rules and unblock tens of billions of euros in funding pits him against PiS ally President Andrzej Duda.

“I declare that I treat my conviction … as an act of political revenge,” Kaminski said in the statement, read by his former deputy Blazej Pobozy at a press conference in front of the prime minister’s office.

“As a political prisoner, I started a hunger strike from the first day of my imprisonment.”

Police entered Poland’s presidential palace to detain Kaminski and another of his former deputies, Maciej Wasik, on Tuesday. The two politicians had remained in the palace after attending a ceremony there earlier in the day.

PiS lawmaker Kaminski was convicted of abuse of power for allowing agents under his command to use entrapment in an investigation. He denied wrongdoing and in 2015 was pardoned by Duda, allowing him to take up his government post.

Last year, the Supreme Court said the case should be reopened and Kaminski and Wasik were sentenced by a lower court in December to two years in prison.

“I want to say clearly that if a politician is in prison, it does not mean that he is a political prisoner,” said Deputy Justice Minister Maria Ejchart.

“Everyone has the right not to eat or drink, it is an individual decision,” she added. “In a situation where a person is under the care of the state, when someone is convicted, he or she is subjected to medical examinations, body measurements, how the body reacts to the decision to stop eating.”

Duda said on Wednesday he “would not rest” until Kaminski and Wasik were freed and said he believed his pardoning of the pair in 2015 was in line with the constitution.

Lawyers had questioned whether Duda had the power to pardon Kaminski before an appeals court had issued a final ruling.

Hundreds of PiS supporters gathered on Tuesday in front of the presidential palace and at a police station where the pair were held to protest their detention.

Follow the Cyprus Mail on Google News

Related Posts

Ukraine allows some convicts to join armed forces

Vatican urges caution over weeping Madonnas and other supposed apparitions

Turkey opposition chief cool to constitution talks with Erdogan

Tree planted in UK for peace in Cyprus ‘vandalised’

Tom Cleaver

Russia says US ‘playing with fire’ in ‘indirect war’ with Moscow

Reuters News Service

Fierce fighting in northern Gaza as Israel defends itself at World Court

Reuters News Service