Piskorski faces down Kafkaesque trial

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August 10th, 2016 – 

Jaroslaw Augustyniak, Sputnik PL – 

Translated by J. Arnoldski

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On August 10th, a court in Warsaw will decide whether to agree to the prosecutor’s request to extend the detention of Zmiana leader Mateusz Piskorski, whom the security services charge with spying for China, Russia, and Iraq, or whether this political prisoner will finally walk free. 

Like any other case, this one has been kept quiet.

Unfortunately, this is not merely the “normal” case of widespread swindling. We are dealing with the fact that the government and its compliant media are striving to silence the case of Piskorski’s imprisonment.

A few weeks ago, a letter was written by a few dozen European Parliament deputies from the Left and GUE-NGL faction and sent to Polish President Andrzej Duda.

The letter demanded that Poland respect freedoms of speech and conviction and that the imprisoned Piskorski be released immediately. Not a single Polish newspaper published the letter and not a single TV report mentioned it. The President, mainstream politicians, and the media are simply pretending that there is no letter.

The Piskorski case is headed by prosecutor Anna Zalewska, but what’s interesting and quite certainly no coincidence is that Zalewska received her appointment to this post from the Minister of Justice only a month before Zmiana’s leader was arrested by the security services.

The Polish justice system has virtually no guarantees of an independent prosecutor, and since the “reform” passed by PiS, whatever independence there might have been is already a complete fiction. The government can delegate preferable prosecutors to suitable cases and wait for their premeditated results. Obedience is rewarded with promotions and failure to pass the proper punishment means demotion or being sent to the provinces.

Mateusz Piskorski sits in a cell alone and goes out for recreation walks alone. These are the very methods depriving a prisoner of contact with the outside world and a sense of time which, in their extreme form, can lead to depression and collapse. These methods were used in a much sharper form in the ’70’s in Argentina during the reign of its bloody dictatorship which Naomi Klein describes in her bestselling book Shock Doctrine. In the most severe consequences, these methods could lead Piskorski to admitting that he is a spy for Reptilians.

In response to a complaint that Piskorski had been unjustly isolated, Prosecutor Zalewska replied that isolation was enforced after reading his letters, from which she concluded that he fears for his life. She probably did not read these letters with any sense of understanding, because if Piskorski fears for his life, then it is certainly not because of inmates among whom, as among the prison guard, he is met with sympathy and has been offered signs of solidarity in different ways. 

This is exactly how things were during the Second Republic whose prisons bursted at the seams with political prisoners. Piskorski is held in a Polish prison were, as we very well know, inmates lose their minds and become “serial suiciders.” 

Fortunately, in his letters censored by the security services, Mateusz Piskorski emphasized that he has no intent of committing suicide. He is working on a book and going over plans for his party for after his release.

Any day now, Piskorski is supposed to be transferred to Białołęka or the Radomski detention center, which prison authorities have explained as necessary due to the planned liquidation of the famous Rakowiecka prison in whose place the PiS government wants to set up a museum to the so-called cursed soldiers, i.e., those who shot peasants that received land after the war thanks to land reform.

It has been three months since Piskorski’s arrest, and still the prosecutor has not presented any evidence as to the charges of alleged espionage. In my knowledge, the case is focused on three charges.

The first, which the Internal Security Agency read on the internet and in the press, accuses him of participating in an international group of observers to the Crimea referendum. It is actually unknown what kind of charge can be made out of this. Where is it written that that this is illegal? In any case, the prosecutor and security services consider this action to be to the detriment of Poland. But how? I hope they’ll explain.

The second charge is one which the Polish security services learned from Ukrainian media. Apparently, at the beginning of last year, a monument to the criminal Bandera was destroyed in Ukraine. Piskorski is accused of abetting, inciting, or perpetrating this act. The evidence of this is so far unknown, but is it so difficult to exclude that so-called Polish “justice” could be working against a Polish citizen on the orders of the Ukrainian SBU?

The last charge is perhaps the most absurd, because it concerns a demonstration at the Ukrainian Embassy for the federalization of Ukraine. Perhaps the Polish security services are unaware that federalization is one of the conditions of the Minsk Agreements which, in addition to Putin, Poland’s allies Holland and Merkel also signed. One would like to ask Ms. Prosecutor: how can one compare apples and oranges? What do the pro-American PiS party’s negative political assessments of Piskorski have in common with the heavy accusations, which in reality are outright slander, thrown against him?

In this situation, can we count on the court not agreeing to an extension of Piskorski’s temporary detention?

Theoretically, yes, because the position of the judge in the system is significantly more independent than that of the prosecutor. By signing on to the political orders of the ruling party, the judge would have to be aware that PiS will also go away one day, and that then he can be reviewed for illegal actions. Piskorski’s attorneys will appeal for his release or at least the arrangement of different, non-isolated, safer measures of custody (such police supervision, ban on leaving the country, bail, etc.) until the indictment is presented.

Even the security services, who have still not revealed any of the evidence justifying the repression and have not specified the reasons for such drastic security measures as his arrest operation and temporary detention, are beginning to panic and grasp at straws, searching blindly for any kind of circumstantial evidence. 

Recently, a woman wrote to the administrators of Zmiana’s Facebook page that the security services called her in for interrogation. She did not know Piskorski and was not a member of Zmiana. What had she done [wrong]? Guided by simple human impulse, she had written a letter to Piskorski expressing solidarity. 

Zmiana’s members are not giving in. They are also being interrogated and harassed in various ways, such as by being refused the return of the equipment seized in May from Zmiana’s party office. 

There have also been cases in which members of the Zmiana-affiliated “Zmiana Workers Unity Trade Union” were summoned to the police and unambiguously urged to leave the union’s ranks.

Information points publicizing Piskorski’s imprisonment to society are being organized in different cities. On August 6th, on the fifth anniversary of Andrzej Lepper’s death in (still) unexplained circumstances, a march dedicated to his memory was organized. Activists marched from the memorial plaque dedicated to Lepper to the Ministry of Justice building, where they once again demanded the release of Chairman Piskorski.

Piskorski’s hearing will be held on August 10th, but from what I know, in this “democratic state of law,” his hearing will be held without his own participation and once again behind closed doors. 

He can, of course, request that he be allowed to participate in the hearing, but as was the case with all of his other requests, they are considered only after the fact.

The only thing we can do now is continue to write letters of solidarity with this man abused and persecuted by the state. I know that they go through the censure, but they will reach him. They help Piskorski survive and refrain from falling into depression in the conditions of complete isolation. 

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