Poland's former interior minister Kaminski is in custody – and on hunger strike

Two BIS politicians were taken to prison from the official residence of the President. This deepens the crisis between the new government and the former ruling party PiS.

Jailed former interior minister Mariusz Kaminski went on hunger strike on the first day of his prison sentence in Poland. The replaced national-conservative ruling party, PiS, published a related statement on Wednesday on X platform (formerly Twitter) from a politician convicted of abuse of office. Kaminsky wrote that he viewed his conviction as political vendetta. President Andrej Duda criticized the actions of the authorities.

Duda said he was deeply shocked by the “zealousness and brutality in legal, physical and media terms”. He will not rest until Kamiński and his former state secretary Maciej Wąsik are freed. Both were “clearly honest people”.

Escalation of conflict

The case of the two politicians has led to an escalation of the conflict between Donald Tusk's new center-left government and the PiS camp. Since then, Poland, an EU and NATO country, has been on the brink of a national crisis. Duda, from PiS, received Kamiński and Wąsik at the presidential palace on Tuesday, while the police were about to take them to jail. After several hours at the official residence, the PiS politicians were finally caught and detained there.

A group of PiS MPs, including party leader Jarosław Kaczyński, gathered in front of the prison in Warsaw's Groczo district on Wednesday night, describing Kaminski and Wasic as “political prisoners” and demanding entry to the prison in vain.

Kaminski and Wasik were sentenced to two years in prison for abuse of office on appeal by the Warsaw District Court in December and were due to begin their sentences. Duda pardoned both men after an initial trial in 2015. However, the Supreme Court declared the pardon illegal as the appeal process was ongoing at the time. Duda reiterated Wednesday that in his opinion, the pardon is still valid. (APA)

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