February 6, 2017 - Fort Russ -
Jaroslaw Augustyniak, Sputnik PL - translated by J. Arnoldski -
UPDATE: On February 7th, Mateusz Piskorski's arrest was extended for another term of three months - J. Arnoldski
The 9th month of Mateusz Piskorski’s imprisonment is passing on his 39th birthday. Ahead of us tomorrow is yet another, already fourth hearing during which the Prosecutor and Internal Security Agency (ABW) will request the court to continue to keep Piskorski in prison.
It all started with a spectacular arrest when on Wilanowa street in Warsaw, where Piskorski was taking his children to school, two cars appeared out of which jumped masked officers with guns in their hands. Piskorski was arrested and simultaneously the offices of the party Zmiana were broken into and a confiscation and inspection of everything and everyone was carried out. Similar attacks were made on the apartments of the party’s leaders.
Soon after, the media reported that Piskorski was arrested on charges of spying for Iraq, China, and/or Russia. Yet no evidence for this has been presented.
Despite this, following a many-hours-long hearing, the ABW received court approval for temporarily imprisoning Piskorski. In issuing consent to the arrest, the court relied on undisclosed material supposedly indicating "high probability of the suspect committing a crime.”
To this day, the public does not know anything about these “reliable” materials, but this has not prevented the court from prolonging Piskorski’s imprisonment for months every quarter.
In the summer, the newspaper Wyborcza wrote that the motive of the arrest were plans by Piskorski’s party to protest the NATO summit in Warsaw. Piskorski was allegedly supposed to meet in Russia with Russian intelligence officers and collect money for organizing anti-NATO protests in Poland. The newspaper reported that the prosecutor had accused Piskorski of “trying to influence public opinion in Poland,” which turns out is something unacceptable for a politician to do.
In June, 12 European Parliament members, mainly from the GUE/NGL faction, wrote an open letter to Polish authorities demanding Piskorski’s release. The parliamentarians, outraged by Piskorski’s imprisonment, reminded the Polish authorities once again that “Poland as an EU member is obliged to respect the right to freedom of expression which is the basis of the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. This right includes the freedom to hold opinions and receive and disseminate information and ideas without interference by public authorities and regardless of state borders.”
Polish media weren’t interested in the publication of this letter. The fact that it was written went unnoticed. The Polish authorities similarly did not respond to the letter, but avoided it in silence.
A few moths later and after a few articles had been published on the case in the Polish and foreign press, the incident, like many others, was yet again met with silence.
Yet a man is still in prison and he still does not know what for.
In the democratic and free country which Poland wants to pass for, politicians and the media know very well that Piskorski is the first political prisoner of the ruling Law and Justice Party, who is being held in solitary confinement because of his views on Polish-Russian relations and strong opposition to Poland’s membership in NATO.
Demands for justice and observing the rule of law, however, are suppressed due to journalists’ fear of being accused of favoring the Kremlin. Some still have the courage to speak out, but lack the daring.
Today in Poland, being “pro-Russian” is the final “argument” that ends any substantive discussion.
Almost the entire journalist community has taken an opportunistic position. The Association of Polish Journalists, which has taken no position while Poland is violating the freedom of expression of a man for his views, had no problem several days ago when it issued a statement in defense of Roman Sushchenko, a Ukrainian journalist for Ukrinform who in August was arrested in Moscow on charges of espionage. This very same Sushchenko whose release is demanded by the Association of Polish Journalists, is according to the Russian FSB a professional officer of Ukrainian military intelligence with the rank of colonel. If this is true, then the credibility of the charges significantly increases. It’s pretty obvious that a professional spy’s job is spying. Nevertheless, the Association of Polish Journalists has expressed its unconditional solidarity with the arrested Ukrainian.
They lack this solidarity, however, when it comes to Piskorski or his colleague, Russia Today journalist Leonid Sviridov, who spent 18 years of his life here in our country. He was found “guilty” in a Kafkaesque trial for posing “danger” to our country without any presented evidence of “guilt”. For being “dangerous,” he was expelled from Poland in December 2015.
But Polish journalists also forgot about him.
If right after Piskorski’s arrest one could withhold judgement on the actions of the ABW until the proof of Piskorski’s guilt was presented, then now, 9 months after his arrest, which has been twice extended by 3 months, and with still no presentation of any evidence whatsoever of him committing a crime, there can be no doubt that we are dealing with political repression.
The disgrace and, frankly speaking, garbage and lack of professionalism of the secret services that have arrested a man and after 9 months can’t manage to present any charges - or drop any charges which could be called nothing more than unfounded allegations - raises fear over the state of Poland and the effects of the “good changes” proclaimed by the government.
On Tuesday, February 7th, the ABW will once again promise the court that it has evidence justifying “a high probability of the suspect’s committing a crime” and assert that continued “temporary” imprisonment is necessary…
Now, after so many months of this investigation involving so much money, so many people, and the costs incurred by taxpayers for this mindless mess, someone in the ABW might have to answer to their superiors for this lack of results. Only for them to reply that Piskorski must be imprisoned! Will the court once again persist and continue to take part in this fiasco? We’ll see.
The ABW was established in 2002 following the liquidation of the State Protection Office. In its place arose two new institutions: the ABW and the Intelligence Agency. The charter of the ABW puts high demands on its employees. It demands that they have “irreproachable moral, civic, and patriotic qualities.” It does not, however, have any requirements as to their IQ.
There’s the problem. With such special services and slackers, who have no high school diploma but only a sincere desire to be an officer and who think “first we arrest someone, then evidence will be found later,” we cannot feel safe.
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