Poland’s church wants to mediate in dispute over imprisoned politicians

Poland’s church wants to mediate in dispute over imprisoned politicians Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki

Warsaw (KNA) The Catholic Church in Poland is intervening in the conflict between two imprisoned politicians from the right-wing conservative opposition party PiS and the new government in Warsaw. The Bishops’ Conference announced on Wednesday evening that its chairman, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, had written to both politicians offering to lobby Justice Minister Adam Bodnar for a “humanitarian intervention” in their case. The men, each sentenced to two years in prison for abuse of office, see themselves as political prisoners and have gone on hunger strike.

According to the Bishops’ Conference, the wives of the two prisoners, former Interior Minister Mariusz Kaminski and his former Secretary of State Maciej Wasik, have approached the Archbishop. They asked Gadecki to mediate between their husbands and the Minister of Justice. The chairman of the bishops’ conference then wrote to Kaminski and Wasik, promising his help if they agreed to it. According to the church, Gadecki called on both PiS politicians to end their hunger strike, which was threatening not only their health but also their lives. At the same time, he assured them that he understood that they had resorted to “such a dramatic form of protest”.

The police arrested Kaminski and Wasik last week at the presidential palace in Warsaw and took them to prison. In December, an appeals court confirmed the prison sentences. President Andrzej Duda, who is close to the PiS, has since pardoned both politicians. The proceedings for their release are ongoing. Meanwhile, Duda announced on Wednesday, citing Kaminski’s wife, that a court had ordered that the former interior minister be force-fed.

Kaminski and Wasik were sentenced to prison for exceeding their powers as head and deputy head of the Polish anti-corruption authority during the term of office of the then PiS government from 2005 to 2007. The courts considered it proven that they ordered the illegal surveillance of individuals and falsification of documents. Kaminski was Minister from 2015 to 2023, Wasik was State Secretary from 2019 to 2023.