Council of Europe report confirms Poland’s illegal detentions

8 06 2007

Source: gazeta.pl portal, 8 June 2007
Author: ulast & Polish Press Agency
Translation: MoPoPressReview

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According to the new Council of Europe’s report CIA had secret prisons in Poland and Romania, in which in the years 2003-2005 people suspected of terrorism were being detained.
Council of Europe rapporteur, Switzerland’s senator Dick Marty released his findings on Friday, stating that the “highest state authorities” of these countries had known about CIA’s actions.

The report on secret CIA detentions in CoE member states, informs that among the people held in Poland were Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, and Abu Zubayda – both important Al-Kaida members.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is the mastermind of the 9/11 2001 attacks on New York. Palestinian Abu Zabayda is one of Osama bin Laden’s closest collaborates.

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See also: Council of Europe nails Kwasniewski and WSI as CIA stooges? by the Beatroot

 


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It’s not a joke, it’s the Kremlin

16 05 2007

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza daily of May 16th, 2007 (page 2)
Author: Tomasz Bielecki in Moscow
Translation: Społem

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Russian public prosecutor’s office seeks revenge on lawyer Karinna Moskalenko. She has courage to represent Kremlin’s political enemies in courts.

Moscow investigators don’t bother themselves with keeping up appearances. They accuse the barrister of… not defending her client Michail Khodorkovski good enough. Khodorkowski was the owner of Yukos oil corporation, who in 2005 was sentenced to eight years in lager-prison for being a political competition to Vladimir Putin.

Prosecutors for almost a month have been demanding for her to be debarred, which means she would lose the right to represent people in Russian courts of justice. – ‘When I heard of this for the first time I thought I thought this was a silly joke’ – Moskalenko told Gazeta yesterday. Prosecutor General accuses her, that she had abandoned Khodorkovski during his February hearings in a syberian town of Chika (near the lager, where Khodorkovski serves his sentence), that she “didn’t fulfil her duties as a barrister”.

Moskalenko explaines, that the imprisoned oligarch was accopanied then by three other lawyers, and that her departure from Chika was agreed upon with Khodorkovski. – ‘Suddenly the prosecutors, who have persecuted him from several years, start to pretend to care for his welfare. This is a material for a grotesque play’ – says the Russian lawyer.

Karinna Moskalenko is the president of Russian Institute for International Legal Defence. The Institute helps Russians facing political repression in fighting justice before international courts.

She defends not only Khodorkovski. She also leads cases of opposition activists, who are being dragged through courts for illegal demonstrations. She represents the families of the victims of Nord-Ost Theatre terrorist attack on Dubrovka, who want a fair trial for police forces involved. Their incompetence and urge to liquidate terrorists fast caused – as say the relatives of the victims – the death of many hostages.

What do the prosecutors venge for? For Khodorkovski? For Dubrovka? – ‘I’m not sure. Since the nineties I’ve been dealing with difficult cases, and apparently I got into their bad books big time. However I don’t feel anything threatens me, even though maybe I should’ – says Moskalenko.

The law lecturer, who at least once a month appears in Strasbourg to fight for the rights of Russians before the International Tribunal of Justice, believes that even in Russia you don’t have to be at the mercy of Kremlin.

Two months ago, to the surprise of of Russian opposition, a group of lawyers including Karinna Moskalenko, have won a case in Moscow against the Prosecutor General. Also a court has decided that the trial against Khodorkovski cannot proceed in siberian Chika, but in Moscow. Which is important, because the trial against Putin’s political enemy can be observed by journalists, and Kremlin’s authoritarian practices will once again make headlines around the world.

Russian public prosecutor’s office has already twice tried to debar Khodorkovski’s lawyers. However the Moscow Bar had strongly rejected its motions. Moskalenko hopes it will be the same this time.

Wouldn’t it be easier to defend thieves, thugs and hooligans? – ‘Few days ago a court fined Garri Kasparov for his participation in an “illegal demonstration”. I found out about this in Strasbourg, from where one can see better how far we are from Europe. In my country the rule of law cannot look like this. Once again I had this thought in my head, that I will not gibe up my fight’.

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President awards human and civil rights activists from the 1970s

24 03 2007

Source: Rzeczpospolita online, March 24th 2007
Author: Rafał Guz

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Over 30 creators and activists of the Ruch Obrony Praw Człowieka i Obywatela (Movement for Defence of the Human and Civic Rights) were awarded in Friday by the President Lech Kaczyński, as a part of the celebrations of 30th anniversary of its establishment.

‘ROPCiO and other underground organisations were the sign of our nation’s resistance to the communist oppression’ – said the president during the ceremony. He added that Poland has to respect Her heroes.

ROPCiO was created by those opposition people, who thought their views do not match the operating since 1976 Workers’ Protection Committee (KOR). Some were in conflict with groups dominating KOR, called secular left, and concentrating around Adama Michnika and Jacka Kuronia. Bogdan Borusewicz, Speaker of the Senate, and local opposition leader in Gdańsk during the People’s Republic, thinks that the Movement enriched the spectrum of democratic opposition in those days. ‘ROPCiO grouped people of more right-wing views than KOR. It was another step in gathering freedom’ – he said.

ROPCiO was established on 25th March 1977. Its manifesto was signed by gen. Mieczysław Boruta-Spiechowicz, Andrzej Czuma, Leszek Moczulski, ks. Ludwik Wiśniewski and Wojciech Ziembiński. Activists of the Movement emphasize its connection to the Second Republic and Home Army tradition, and the Church. Among them were former political prisoners of the ’60s underground organisation “RUCH” (which was discovered by the secret services), veterans of both the Home Army and postwar anticommunist underground.

Respect and defence of human rights was one of the main ROPCiO aimes. The movement also organised help for the oppressed as well as political actions, for example 11th November Independence Day celebrations. Many of its members were imprisoned.

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“Tribunal defends local council members and mayors”

14 03 2007

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza daily, March 14th 2007.
Original author: Ewa Siedlecka

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The Constitutional Tribunal decided yesterday, that the statue punishing the publicly elected local governments members with reclaiming their seats for not having produced a financial statement in time provided, is against The Constitution Of The Republic Of Poland. Before the sentence was given, the prime minister threatened: ‘We have to seriously consider some new model of functioning of the Tribunal.
Judges Ewa Łętowska (left) and Teresa LiszczDoes this sentence mean they will keep their seats? It is not clear. Probably, however, administrative courts that will deal with local officials’ appeals to Palatines’ decisions regarding taking their mandates away, will take this sentence into account. The sentence affects 765 people of local governments, including the mayor of Warsaw Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz of opposition Citizens Platform Party (PO).

The Tribunal started to give out its verdict at 3 p.m., althouth the tension was rising from the morning. In a radio interview the prime-minister suggested that Gronkiewicz-Waltz is in league with the Tribunal, because in her latter to the Palatine of Masovia ‘she revealed that she knows what legal arguments the Tribunal will take into account‘.

He repeated that suggestion just before the verdict: ‘If the reasoning presented in the letter to the Palatine of Masovia was applied, it would mean that Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz is informed about about Tribunal sentences in advance. That would be another argument for a serious discussion about a new form for the Tribunal’.

The prime-minister also said that he hopes ‘the Tribunal will not use any circus tricks’. However the verdict was not pleasing for him.

Tribunal has decided that it is against The Constitution to punish the members of local councils and mayors with a loss of seat, not only in case when they did not produce their financial statements in time, but also when they did not produce them at all.

‘The sanction of the loss of mandate, applied only to achieve the financial transparency of the people in power is permissible. However applying it to those, who were slightly late with their financial reports, is not necessary to achieve that aim. And it breaches the constitutional rule of proportionality’ – said judge Ewa Łętowska in the name of the Tribunal.

She also pointed out to the unclear procedure of taking away the mandates: – ‘If you use such a drastic sanction, procedures should be very precise’.

The Tribunal has also decided that the obligation of producing financial report of the official’s spouse is unconstitutional. This was the ground, for Palatine of Masovia’s decision to take away Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz’s seat.

Here, as The Tribunal said in its verdict, the rule of proportionality was also breached. As well as the rule of decent legislation, as the act does not clearly say when is the deadline for producing spouses’ financial report.

The verdict takes effect with the day of being published in The Journal of Laws. However it does not mean that administrative courts or local governments can ignore it until then.

‘As far as local governments are concerned it would have been best if they postponed any decisions in these matters until the verdict comes into effect’ – Ewa Łętowka told journalists after the trial.

‘The Courts however will do as they think is right. However from the moment of this verdict, this act is no longer under the supposition of constitutionality’.

What does that mean? The courts have to obey The Constitution, and therefore they can deny applying the statue which is colliding with it, although the statue was in force in the moment of local elections.

Five judges of the Tribunal have taken part in the trial, two of which – Teresa Liszcz and Zbigniew Cieślak – were chosen for this office by Sejm three months ago with the votes of Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS). None of the judges has issued votum separatum.

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Editorial comment of Gazeta Wyborcza.
Author: Jarosław Kurski

This was not the first time, when prime-minister makes disdainful remarks on the Tribunal. We remember his words ‘Disgusting, cowardly opportunists’, ‘unimpressive group of wisemen’, ‘lie-elites‘ of plotters who settle their own interests.
This time prime-minister talked about ‘circus tricks’. He insinuated that the Tribunal is plotting together with Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz. He threatened that ‘we need to seriously think about a new form for the the Tribunal’. It all happened an hour before the sentence. You cannot describe prime-minister’s words different, than as an attempt to pressurise an independent constitutional court. Not a first attempt. Prime-mister is making us used to his breachings of legal culture of the state. We cannot agree to that.
Yesterdays sentence is the triumph of the rule of law. If it was up to PiS, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz would have stopped being mayor long ago.
Thankfully the prime-minister does not have enough power to execute his threat and “reforem” the Tribunal. The Tribunal is protected by The Consitution. No one has won with it, and lets hope it stays that way.

Professor Andrzej Zoll, former Ombudsman, comments for Gazeta Wyborcza:
Mr prime-minister has been devaluing the Tribunal for a very long time. Such pressure, threatening is, using his words, anti-Polish. I think that anywhere in Europe such remark would have cost a prime-minister his job. I do not expect such a reaction in Poland.
I know that the Tribunal will not surrender to pressure. independent Tribunal is the only hope, that we will not end up as a totalitarian state.

Professor Marek Safjan, former Chairman of the Constutional Tribunal, comments for Gazeta Wyborcza:
Well, I cannot say I am surprised with these remarks, as they match the tone which we have heard from the prime-minister from a long time. You can see some elements of pressurising the Tribunal in it. I am convinced however, that the judges are immune to that, like thay have been until now.
The fact that the sentence was in accordance with a certain, possible to be foreseen, legal argumentation, means only as much as the actions of the Tribunal are transparent. That there are no ‘circus tricks’ only clear, obvious and predictable argumentation.
However the threat of ‘reshaping the construction of the Tribunal’ it is really dangerous, as a reaction to the fact that Tribunal’s sentences are not in accordance with the wishes of executive power. This is a hit in the basics of the rule of law.

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