Monday, April 14, 2008

Former defence minister reproved for ‘morons’ comment

The Parliamentary Ethics Committee has reproved former Minister of National Defence, Aleksander Szczyglo (Law and Justice), for his statement about Polish soldiers charged with mortaring civilians in the Afghan village of Nangar Khel.

As shown on TV, Szczyglo called the seven soldiers – currently awaiting trial - 'a bunch of morons firing at civilians'.

When Szczyglo was asked about the incident in Afghanistan, he answered that proceedings that are to explain the circumstances of the case are in progress. While walking away from the journalist, however, the visibly irritated Szczyglo told her: "Please do not tell me that I am in any way responsible for a bunch of morons shooting at civilians."

Szczyglo apologised for what he said the next day, but the governing Civic Platform (PO) put forward a motion to the Ethics Committee. According to PO MPs, one of Szczyglo's responsibilities was to take care of the ‘good name and image of soldiers’.

Civic Platform wanted Szczyglo to be punished with a reprimand, but the chairman of the committee, Franciszek Stefaniuk (Polish Peasant Party), said that the Committee decided to issue a reproof, as Szczyglo had apologized at a press conference for what he said.

The Parliamentary Ethics Commiitte has the authority to reprove MPs, admonish or reprimand them.

The seven Polish soldiers being investigated on charges of unlawfully shooting dead eight civilians, including women and children, were detained last November. Six are charged with homicide.