Graphics with the image of imprisoned Law and Justice party politicians, former Minister of Internal Affairs Mariusz Kaminski and his deputy Maciej Wasik, are displayed on the facade of the Presidential Palace in Warsaw. EPA-EFE/SZYMON PULCYN


Imprisoned Polish MP ‘will resist court order that he be force-fed’

Mariusz Kamiński has been refusing to eat for more than a week since his incarceration on January 11


Hunger-striking Polish MP Mariusz Kamiński will resist a court order that he be force-fed, his lawyer has told Brussels Signal.

Kamiński has been refusing to eat for more than a week since his incarceration on January 11.

His lawyer Michał Zuchmantowicz said that, as “far as he was aware”, the force-feeding of his client has not yet happened. Prison authorities do however now have the power to apply the measure.

According to Zuchmantowicz, “the court order sets out the parameters for the prisoner’s state of health for forced feeding to take place. These limits have not as yet been reached”, he said.

Zuchmantowicz also said his client “disagreed with the court’s ruling and is continuing to refuse food although he does accept liquids by drip-feed.”

Polish Catholic Church Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, chairman of the Polish Bishops’ Conference, has appealed to Kamiński and fellow jailed MP, Maciej Wąsik, who is also on hunger strike, to end their protests.

Gądecki stated he would appeal to justice minister Adam Bodnar to intervene in “a humanitarian way” in respect of Polish President Andrzej Duda’s call for the two men’s imprisonment to be suspended pending the completion of a pardon that Duda, the head of state, has ordered.

On January 18, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk expressed apparent surprise that Duda was persisting in claiming the two men are “political prisoners” and innocent, despite the fact they were previously found guilty in court.

Kaminski, a former interior minister, and his deputy Wasik were detained at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw on January 10 and then imprisoned over an abuse-of-power charge regarding an anti-corruption “sting” in 2007.

The two members of the former PiS government – of which Duda is an ally – announced they were going on a hunger strike in protest.

Duda, who is currently at the World Economic Forum in Davos, told reporters on January 17 about the forced-feeding court order and repeated his call on Bodnar to suspend the two men’s jail sentences.

According to Polish tabloid Super Express, the minister is unwilling to do so but hopes to have necessary paperwork on the case ready within days to enable Duda himself to order the release of the two men.

Kaminski and Wasik were first convicted of abuse of power in 2015 for allowing agents under the former’s command to authorise “entrapment” in an investigation. They denied wrongdoing at the time and were pardoned by Duda, allowing them to retain their governmental posts.

Lawyers questioned whether Duda had the power to pardon Kaminski before an appeals court issued a final ruling.

Last year, after Tusk came to power, the Polish Supreme Court said the case should be reopened and Kaminski and Wasik were then sentenced by a lower court in December to two years each in prison.

The newly installed Speaker of Parliament, Szymon Hołownia, proceeded to cancel their parliamentary mandates and both men were seized by police 24 hours after an arrest warrant was issued.