|Former Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro took offense|
Courtesy of the office of Zbigniew Ziobro
While reading out his verdict in the case of Dr Mirosław G., a doctor infamously arrested for corruption in 2007, Judge Igor Tuleya said that some of the investigative techniques used by prosecutors in the doctor’s case “could remind one of Stalinist methods.”
The judge was referring to marathon interrogations conducted at night, depriving the suspect of sleep. Judge Tuleya also said he would report for further investigation what he deemed “false testimonies” given by witnesses brought forward by Poland’s Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA) in Mirosław G.’s case.
Mirosław G. was a well-known cardiologist working in a hospital owned by the Ministry of Internal Affairs before his apprehension. He was arrested by the CBA in 2007 on charges of corruption, namely that he had received bribes from patients and their families.
The sum of zł.90,000 in cash was found in the doctor’s home on the day of his arrest as well as expensive gifts, the CBA said were bribes the doctor had received.
The CBA was created in 2006 to fight corruption in Poland. But it quickly started receiving criticism for what its opponents deemed its political nature. It has been described as a political weapon used by Law and Justice, which ruled in the years 2005-07, to battle its political enemies and wage propaganda wars.
Paranoia plus power
Igor Tuleya’s statements criticizing the CBA and in effect, the justice system in 2007, caused an immediate uproar.
Zbigniew Ziobro, leader of Solidarna Polska, and minister of justice in the years 2005-07, called the judge’s words “unwise” and said he would file for disciplinary action against Mr Tuleya. Justice Minister Jarosław Gowin also criticized the judge saying Mr Tuleya had behaved “inappropriately” but added that he would not intervene in the matter.
But the judge did find some support for his words.
Jerzy St´pien, a retired judge and the former head of the Constitutional Tribunal, said the police methods used in those years were indeed “Stalinist” in nature and that Mr Tuleya had not said anything inappropriate. He said practices such as marathon questionings and depriving suspects of sleep were methods reminiscent of the darkest days in Soviet history.
Meanwhile, Leszek Miller, head of the Democratic Left Alliance and a former prime minister said that although the Stalin reference was indeed “inappropriate,” the PiS-led government was characterized by paranoia. “Paranoia plus power equals degeneration,” said Mr Miller.
The National Council of the Judiciary of Poland (KRS), a supervisory body for judges, said the media was misquoting Mr Tuleya. “Between reminding one of Stalinist measures and definitively describing methods as Stalinist is a big gulf,” said Jarema Sawiński, deputy chair of the KRS, adding that it would take no disciplinary measures against the judge.
As for Mirosław G., he was found guilty by Mr Tuleya’s court and given a one-year suspended sentence. He was also fined zł.72,000 for receiving zł.17,500 in bribes.
From Warsaw Business Journal
Biernacki sworn in as justice minister
Transforming Poland's justice system
Politics: Justice minister blasts Kaczyński petition, snubs own party
Former PM Kaczyński to be brought before Poland's State Tribunal?
PiS deputy leader appeals to Kaczyński for calm, unity
Migration and remittances in the euro zone periphery
BY Stratfor Global Intelligence
Commemorating Europe Day, EU faces key challenges
BY Stratfor Global Intelligence