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Polish president pledges to pardon jailed ex-ministers

11.01.2024 20:15
Poland's president has said he would seek a pardon for two former ministers who were arrested at the presidential palace on Tuesday and taken to prison to serve a two-year sentence for abuse of power.
Polish President Andrzej Duda meets reporters at the presidential palace in Warsaw on January 11, 2024.
Polish President Andrzej Duda meets reporters at the presidential palace in Warsaw on January 11, 2024.X/Office of the President of Poland

Andrzej Duda made the declaration in a speech on Thursday. 

The head of state said he would pardon Poland's ex-interior minister Mariusz Kamiński and his former deputy Maciej Wąsik, who began a hunger strike after being imprisoned on Tuesday.

Duda said he made the decision after meeting the wives of the two former officials earlier in the day.

Kamiński and Wąsik were members of parliament with the conservatives Law and Justice (PiS), who ruled Poland from 2015 until the October 2023 general election. 

Duda said on Wednesday his pardoning of Kamiński and Wąsik in 2015 was "in line with the constitution," and "should stand."

In June 2023, Poland's Supreme Court said the case should be reopened as the president's pardon was improper, because it was issued before the two were convicted.

In December 2023, they were sentenced to two years in prison for abuse of power when in charge of Poland's anti-corruption service CBA, during Law and Justice's previous spell in power in 2007.

The case pits Prime Minister Donald Tusk's pro-European coalition, which is seeking to bring Poland back in line with European Union democratic standards and unblock tens of billions of euros in EU funding, against President Andrzej Duda, an ally of Law and Justice, the Reuters news agency reported.

Ministers said that Kamiński and Wąsik were properly convicted, and so can no longer serve as MPs, and that the only way for them to avoid prison is for Duda to pardon them, the Politico news service reported.

Source: PAP, Reuters, Politico