EU state’s president ‘fears for his security’ – media
Polish President Andrzej Duda is afraid that his own security detail has been infiltrated by officers loyal to his political opponent, new PM Donald Tusk, Poland’s Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper claimed on Monday.
Former Polish Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski and his deputy, Maciej Wonsik, were arrested inside Duda’s presidential palace earlier this month. Police officers entered the palace to detain the two politicians, who had been convicted in December of entrapment and abuse of power offenses committed nearly two decades earlier. The pair sought sanctuary in the palace, which Duda told them he would provide.
Upon their imprisonment both announced they had begun a hunger strike but a Polish court subsequently ruled that the men could be force-fed.
Duda “was first shocked and then furious” that his State Protection Service (SOP) agents allowed the police inside the palace, Gazeta Wyborcza reported, citing an anonymous SOP agent. “He directly accused the chief of security of betrayal,” the source said.
There is a prevailing belief among the president’s entourage that two deputy SOP heads, identified as Colonels Bartlomiej Gebda and Krzysztof Krul, ordered the rest of the security detail to step down and allow the 14 police officers to arrest Kaminski and Wonsik, the paper claimed. Duda now reportedly suspects the colonels of being part of a “conspiracy” against him.
Kaminski and Wonsik are members of the nationalist Law and Justice party (PiS), while Duda is a former member and is still considered a close ally of PiS.
The case against Kaminski and Wonsik began in 2009, when they were accused of allowing agents of the anti-corruption body that they headed to use entrapment in an investigation two years prior. Both men were convicted in 2015 and sentenced to three and a half years in prison, but they were pardoned by Duda, who took office that year.
Poland’s new government, led by the pro-EU Donald Tusk, has claimed that Duda did not have the right to grant the two MPs amnesty. After winning the general election and ousting PiS last month, the new government reopened the case against the former minister and his deputy.
Fearful that Tusk had planted loyalists within the SOP, Duda mulled replacing these agents with Military Police officers, Gazeta Wyborcza’s source claimed. Polish law, however, does not allow this, the newspaper noted.
As president, Duda has the power to grant clemency to Kaminski and Wonsik for a second time. According to Polish news site Onet, the president could announce a new pardon for the two PiS members on Monday evening. Both men are currently in separate prisons, with Kaminski on a hunger strike for almost two weeks.