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Polish court rules presidential pardon was premature

PR dla Zagranicy
Victoria Bieniek 01.06.2017 11:30
Poland's supreme court has indicated that the president's 2015 pardon of a former anti-corruption agency chief was premature because his jail sentence was still being appealed.
Mariusz Kamiński: Photo: KPRM.Mariusz Kamiński: Photo: KPRM.

In 2013, Law and Justice (PiS) MP Mariusz Kamiński – who served as head of the anti-corruption agency from 2006 and 2009 – was found guilty of overstepping his powers.

He was sentenced to three years in prison and was banned from holding public office for ten years.

Polish President Andrzej Duda pardoned Kamiński even though he was still appealing his sentence at the time. The case against Kamiński was then discontinued.

A supreme court judge said that the president interfered in the legal process because Kamiński was proven neither innocent nor guilty when he was pardoned, making a future ruling redundant.

The judge said that the president can pardon someone after any final appeal has been heard “because then he is not interfering with the judiciary”.

Polish Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro said he would consider asking the Constitutional Tribunal to review the supreme court decision, while Paweł Mucha, an official from the president's office, said Duda's decision to pardon Kamiński was legal.

Mucha added that pardons were the president's prerogative and it was not the supreme court's place to intervene.

“The pardon... is effective and still binding,” Mucha said.

Kamiński said that by questioning the pardon the supreme court had “put itself above the law”.

A spokesperson for the supreme court said the presidential pardon was “an inherent right, we are not trying to contest it”.

He added that Kamiński's case would return to the appeal process.

Kamiński was found guilty of overstepping his powers over the Central Anti-corruption Bureau's investigation of the so-called land scandal in 2007.

The anti-corruption agency allegedly conducted a sting operation in which bribes were paid for the zoning change of agricultural land into residential plots, which led to then-Deputy Prime Minister Andrzej Lepper being dismissed and the collapse of the coalition government of the time.

Duda's decision to pardon Kamiński while he was still appealing his case was unprecedented.

In 2015 Duda said that people who fought against corruption deserved special protection. (vb/pk)

Source: PAP, IAR

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