Wednesday, April 02, 2008

In the spotlight: Krzysztof Rutkowski

Krzysztof Rutkowski, is planning a political comeback despite facing criminal charges. According to Polish daily Rzeczpospolita, Rutkowski will run for the Krosno-Przemysl Senate seat in a by-election resulting from the death of Law and Justice senator Andrzej Mazurkiewicz.

The newspaper reported that Rutkowski was optimistic about his chances of being elected and claimed to know how to solve the region's problems. He plans to run for office on the issue of improving public safety.

Accused of corruption, as well as activity in the so-called "fuel mafia," Rutkowski was detained by agents of the Internal Security Agency in July 2006 and subsequently placed under arrest. He was released in May 2007, but his movement remained restricted by the state. Rutkowski has protested his innocence and intends to seek compensation for his arrest.

Before the scandal erupted, Rutkowski was active in Poland's political life. He ran and was elected to the Sejm from the Self-defense party's list in the 2001 parliamentary elections, but left the party's parliamentary club soon afterwards. In 2004 and 2005, he unsuccessfully ran for seats in the European Parliament and the Polish Sejm, respectively.

Born in 1960 in Teresin, in the 1980s Rutkowski was a member of the Citizens' Militia, a state police institution in the People's Republic of Poland, and served in its ZOMO paramilitary riot police unit. After the end of communism, he became a detective and owned, from 1990-2001, his own detective agency. Some of the agency's investigations were featured in the popular "Detektyw" television program broadcast by the TV station TVN. Rutkowski's work as a private detective, however, was marred by a number of court cases over allegations that he and his agency operated using illegal methods.