Jacek Harłukowicz, Wyborcza – Wrocław, 1 November 2020
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The withdrawal of the petition to arrest the bandit who attacked the ‘Wyborcza’ journalist on Wednesday is not the first time that the politicised prosecution service controlled by Zbigniew Ziobro’s people has defended hooligans, nationalists and fascists. It is also a clear sign: ‘We do not lock our own up’.
The petition to temporarily arrest Robert G., pseudonym Gallon, who the prosecutors charged with the alleged assault and battery of the ‘Wyborcza’ journalist from Wrocław, was filed with the court on Friday.
As late as in the late afternoon, after 5 p.m., the press officer of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Wrocław, Justyna Pilarczyk, who was handling the investigation, explained to us the reasons for filing it as being ‘the concern of the suspect obstructing justice, as well as the concern about the suspect escaping or hiding, and the concern about other illegal obstructions of justice’.
Because the prosecutors already knew exactly who they were dealing with. They have known Robert G. perfectly well for years. He has already been convicted for his activities within a criminal group, as well as for the settling of scores between gangsters, referred to as ‘gang wars’, in Wrocław several years ago. They culminated in two clashes that took place in broad daylight on the city streets: the shooting at ulica Świeradowska and the later battle with machetes on ulica Drukarska.
‘Galon’ was fighting for the Silesian hooligans at that time, who were fighting for influence against one of the criminal groups operating in the city led by Bolesław D., pseudonym Bolek. After all, Robert G. was also involved with an informal gang of Wrocław hooligans called ‘Silesia’ and, according to TVN24 journalists, he was also supposed to be involved in selling drug and illicit tobacco.
When the media reported that the prosecutor’s office had filed a petition to temporarily arrest the man, the Wrocław prosecutor’s office received a phone call. ‘The call came from the National Prosecutor’s Office ordering the arrest to be changed into non-custodial preventive measures,’ the Wrocław prosecutors tell us.
The official letter of withdrawal of the petition for the arrest was sent to the court by fax. On Friday before midnight.
‚Galon’ was already free on Saturday morning, after paying bail of PLN 6,000. He is prohibited from leaving the country and has to report in to the police station.
After ‘Wyborcza’ publicised the matter, the Wrocław regional prosecutor’s office issued a bizarre statement, in which it explains the reason for not arresting the hooligan as being the rejection of such petitions by the courts in what it claims to be ‘similar and much more drastic cases’: ‘An example is the refusal to arrest the perpetrator of the assault and battery of a priest from Myślibórz, and it should be emphasised that the perpetrator was infected with COVID-19 and was aware that he was putting the priest’s life at risk, as well as the son of a well-known Tri-City businessman who beat up a journalist,’ we read in the statement signed by the press officer of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Wrocław, Prosecutor Justyna Pilarczyk.
In defence of Rybak, Międlar and Helcyk
This is not the first situation in which hooligans, racists, representatives of so-called nationalist groups or simple fascists suspected of having committed crimes are helped not by defence attorneys, but by the National Prosecutor’s Office headed by Zbigniew Ziobro’s people.
When in 2016 the court in Wrocław wanted to send the perpetrator of this act – a famous anti-Semite and racist, Piotr Rybak – to prison unconditionally for three months for burning the effigy of a Jew, the prosecutors of the District Prosecutor’s Office in Wrocław were ordered to file an appeal against the sentence. Because their superiors considered the penalty to be ‘disproportionately high’. And although the order in this case was issued by the then Deputy District Prosecutor in Wrocław, Prosecutor Jerzy Duplaga, it was an open secret that it was not so much his initiative as an order from his superiors from Warsaw.
The same prosecutor stood up in defence of the head of the Lower Silesian National Radical Camp (ONR), Justyna Helcyk, who was accused of inciting hatred with respect to Muslims. He ordered the indictment that had already been filed to be withdrawn from the court. Shortly afterwards, her case was completely discontinued by the prosecution service.
Jerzy Duplaga was recently dismissed when the National Public Prosecutor’s Office decided to punish the prosecutors for their unwillingness to charge Roman Giertych and dismissed the whole of the management of the District Prosecutor’s Office in Wrocław. However, he was the only one who received a lifebelt. Immediately after his dismissal, he was appointed head of the Internal Affairs Department.
The indictment against the former priest, Jacek Międlar, also for inciting hatred with respect to Ukrainians and Jews, was also withdrawn from the court. Such an order was given to the Wrocław prosecutors by Krzysztof Sierak, Deputy Prosecutor General, who was one of Zbigniew Ziobro’s closest associates holding this post. When the Law and Justice party was first in power, he was, among other things, the head of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Katowice, which was known for its political investigations. He supervised, among other things, the case of the alleged corruption of Barbara Blida, a former member of the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), who shot herself at her home during her arrest by the Internal Security Agency in 2007.
Międlar later publicly thanked the Minister of Justice. And in a film posted shortly afterwards in the Internet, he raised a toast to ‘the reforms of the justice system that are taking place on Patryk Jaki’s and Zbigniew Ziobro’s initiative’.
The case of the former priest was also finally dropped.
Untouchable caste. Andruszkiewicz and Dudzicz
Sierak also intervened in another ‘nationalist’ investigation. This was about the falsification of the All-Polish Youth (Młodzież Wszechpolska) support lists before the 2014 local elections. The Head of the All-Polish Youth was then Adam Andruszkiewicz, currently Secretary of State in the Chancellery of the Prime Minister, Mateusz Morawiecki. As TVN’s ‘Superwizjer’ revealed last year, the prosecutors from Białystok handling the investigation were going to charge Andruszkiewicz, then a member of Mateusz Morawiecki’s government, with managing the falsifications. However, the investigation was taken away from them and transferred to Lublin. Prosecutor Krzysztof Sierak signed the decision.
The case ended with disciplinary proceedings against the ‘overzealous’ investigators from Lublin. There is still no sight of the end of the investigation six years after the possible forgery.
Another investigation, which directly applies to a ‘good change’ man, has been dragging on for years. Last year, we revealed in ‘Wyborcza’ that Judge Jarosław Dudzicz, a line judge of the District Court in Słubice and, from 2017 onwards, the President of the Regional Court in Gorzów Wielkopolska and a member of the politically-controlled National Council of the Judiciary, was supposed to have posted anti-Semitic entries in the Internet.
‘A despicable, rotten nation, they don’t deserve anything,’ a user with the nickname ‘jorry123’ wrote about Jews a few years ago in one of the Internet forums. The prosecutors, who started an investigation after an outraged citizen reported this, quickly established that Dudzicz was behind this. When called for questioning, he allegedly confessed to this. Later, however, the case ended up with the National Prosecutor’s Office. And the National Prosecutor’s Office has been unable to charge the judge for five years. Jarosław Dudzicz is still presiding over the Gorzów court and is a member of the National Council of the Judiciary, as if nothing had happened.
Gallows? ‘Symbolic staging’
The public prosecutor’s office has also proved to be extremely gracious to the nationalists from Silesia. When, in 2017, some Polish MEPs supported the resolution of the European Parliament on the rule of law in Poland, they organised a ‘happening’ in the centre of Katowice, when their effigies were hung from specially prepared gallows.
As it transpires, one of the participants of the event was an assistant judge, Jakub Kalus, working then on secondment at … the Ministry of Justice, currently employed at the Court of Appeal in Katowice. The investigation in this case was also discontinued. This is because the prosecutors decided that the hanging does not satisfy the signs of an illegal political threat.
‘The staging involving hanging portraits of politicians on structures resembling gallows was of a symbolic nature, referring to historical events from the 18th century and painted on a picture by Jan Piotr Norblin,’ stated the press officer of the Katowice prosecutor’s office, Marta Zawada-Dybek, at that time.
However, this was not obvious to everyone. As ‘Wyborcza’ revealed, the decision to discontinue the investigation was not signed by the prosecutor handling the case at that time, Adam Piotrowski, but by his supervisor, Prosecutor Iwona Skrzypek, acting as Deputy Regional Prosecutor in Katowice. Prosecutor Skrzypek was promoted to her position as a result of the ‘good change’.
The Prosecutor’s Office is investigating TVN instead of fascists
Kalus himself gave legal advice to Mateusz S., pseudonym Sitas, leader of the extreme right-wing association, Price and Modernity (Duma i Nowoczesność), known from TVN’s ‘Superwizjer’ footage of Adolf Hitler’s birthday celebrations organised in a forest near Wodzisław Śląski. He prepared pleadings for nationalists and advised them on how to behave during an investigation.
The TVN reporters, who received the majority of the most important journalistic awards for their material, also had to explain themselves and their work. Piotr Wacowski, who managed to infiltrate the hermetic neo-Nazi environment, took part in the celebrations they prepared in honour of Hitler and filmed everything with a hidden camera, was later dragged in by the prosecutors for questioning as being suspected of… promoting Nazism. The Internal Security Agency also checked the reports that Wacowski was supposed to have ‘embezzled PLN 54.5’, which he did not pay for a taxi, while he was working on the material.
In turn, Warsaw’s prosecutors were not at all concerned about the fate of the women who tried to block the Independence March through the capital on 11 November 2017. It was precisely there that the fascists from the Italian Forza Nuova and Stormtroopers appeared, who decided to celebrate Poland’s regaining of its independence with flags with racist symbols of the Celtic cross and banners with slogans about a ‘White Europe’. The women trying to block them were kicked, beaten, sworn at and spat on by the ‘nationalists’, which was documented by photographs and videos of the demonstration.
However, according to Prosecutor Małgorzata Kołodziej from the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Warsaw, there were no grounds for charging anyone in this case. In the justification for discontinuing the investigation, Prosecutor Kołodziej wrote, among other things, that ‘the attackers did not intend to beat up the injured parties, but to show their dissatisfaction’. Meanwhile, the positions of the ‘injuries suggests that the violence of the attackers was directed towards less sensitive parts of the body’.
As RMF FM later reported, the prosecutors did not even attempt to identify the attackers.
Professor Pankowski: Protective political umbrella
According to organisations monitoring racist and xenophobic behaviour, tolerance with respect to them on the part of those in power has been increasing since the Law and Justice government came to power.
‘The impunity of those responsible has taken on a new dimension since 2015,’ says Professor Rafał Pankowski from the Never Again Association, which runs a ‘Brown Paper’ documenting all such cases in Poland.
‘Convicting sentences for preaching national or racial hatred are extremely rare nowadays, cases are most frequently discontinued as early as at the stage of prosecutor investigations. It seems as if extreme nationalists simply feel they have a protective political umbrella over them. This makes the fascists more daring in their increasingly aggressive behaviour. The recent escalation of violence against protesting women is a direct result of this.’