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Spy probe in Poland after judge flees to Belarus

06.05.2024 20:30
Authorities in Poland say they have launched a probe to check if a judge who asked for political asylum in Belarus on Monday had been spying for Minsk or Moscow.
Tomasz Szmydt
Tomasz SzmydtPAP/Rafał Guz

Tomasz Szmydt, a judge from a Warsaw administrative court, asked for asylum in Belarus, saying he was acting in protest against Poland's policy towards Russia and Belarus, according to media reports on Monday.

A spokesperson for the Polish Public Prosecutor's Office said prosecutors were checking if Szmydt, who had access to confidential information as a judge, had been spying against Poland.

The Polish Internal Security Agency (ABW) was investigating what kind of classified information Szmydt had access to, according to a spokesman for the minister in charge of Poland's security services.

Polish Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Władysław Kosiniak-Kamysz told reporters that "the matter requires immediate clarification."

Poland's Foreign Minister Radosław Sikorski called Szmydt a "traitor."

"This is an absolutely shocking case," Sikorski told the media. "We had a traitor once before, and I think this is a similar case," he added, referring to Polish soldier Emil Czeczko who defected to Belarus in late 2021 and was later found dead in that country, according to the authorities in Minsk.

Szmydt was involved in a blackmail scandal and accused of discrediting other judges in Poland, public broadcaster Polish Radio’s IAR news agency reported

He was slated to rule on cases concerning issuing security clearances to information on NATO and European Union secrets next month, according to the Reuters news agency.


Source: IAR, PAP, Reuters, AFP

Click on the audio player above for a report by Radio Poland's Marcin Matuszewski.