Judicial independence still under siege in Poland

Although President Andrzej Duda vetoed two legislative proposals last month that would have severely weakened the independence of the Polish judiciary, he did sign a third bill that gave the country’s Justice Minister the power to remove and replace the heads of the lower courts.  That law went into effect this week, and the results are not promising.

The German media site Deutsche Welle reports on district judge Waldemar Zurek, a spokesman for Poland’s National Council for the Judiciary, who has been personally investigated by prosecutors on very flimsy grounds.  According to the story, Zurek

fears his computer will be seized for the information and contacts it contains. “They’ve already looked at my phone records – without my permission,” he said, which Polish law allows. The threatening letters were just a pretext to monitor him, Zurek said.

Zurek states in the story that he assumes his public stance in favor of judicial independence will cost him his job soon.  Will the Polish people stand for it?

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