Polish MPs arrested in presidential palace

Polish police arrested former Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski and former Deputy Interior Minister Maciej Wasik at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw on Tuesday evening, the 9th of January, after they were sentenced last month to two years in prison for abusing their powers when they headed an anti-corruption bureau in 2007, reports the BBC.
After the arrests, the new interior minister, Marcin Kierwinski, wrote on X (formerly Twitter):

“Everyone is equal before the law.”

Both men, who were elected Law and Justice (PiS) MPs in October, and President Andrzej Duda, a PiS ally, have refused to recognise the court’s decision since the president pardoned them in 2015, with Duda insisting that his pardon was still valid.
Despite the fact that both Kaminski and Wasik have been stripped of their mandates, both they and the president claim that, thanks to the disputed 2015 pardon, they have legally retained their status as elected MPs.

On Monday evening, the court ordered the police to detain the two men.

Despite this, President Andrzej Duda invited the two men to the presidential palace in Warsaw to attend a ceremony on Tuesday morning at which two of their former colleagues were sworn in as presidential advisers.
Kaminski and Wasik, who were facing arrest, later came out of the palace to briefly talk to journalists, called themselves “political prisoners” if they were arrested and thanked Duda for his support.
Prime Minister Donald Tusk criticised the situation, stressing the need to respect the court’s ruling and hinted that President Duda was helping the men to evade the legal proceedings.
However, in the evening Duda left the building to meet with Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, and

in his absence the police came to the building and arrested the two men.

After the arrests, several hundred PiS supporters demonstrated outside the palace in support of the arrested men.
Last year, the Polish Supreme Court invalidated the pardon granted by Duda in 2015 to the men because it was granted during an appeal, i.e. before the original verdict was delivered.
Prime Minister Tusk said that Duda could resolve the dispute by pardoning the men again, as the judgment is now final, but this would call into question the legal status of the original pardon.
Tusk’s coalition took office last month vowing to reverse changes made by PiS to the judiciary, public media and public administration, which the European Commission and many other international organisations say have undermined Poland’s rule of law, writes the BBC.
Also read: Poland’s new government stops news channel broadcasting amid reforms
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