Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Polish Man, 63, accused of sex assault on teen

A TEENAGER was sexually assaulted by a man 50 years older than her after he accosted her on a bus as she was going to school, it has been alleged.

Fernando Dias, 63, struck up a conversation with the 13-year-old girl as she was travelling to her Ipswich school and when she missed her stop he persuaded her not to go to school and to go for a cup of tea with him instead, Ipswich Crown Court was told.

Stephen Dyble, prosecuting, said that while they were on the bus Dias, a Polish national, told the girl that if she ever needed money she could go to him and had put ?5 in her pocket.

While they were having a drink Dias had allegedly started stroking the girl's leg and although she was unsettled by what he was doing she had agreed to go back to his flat.

There they had watched television but when the girl said it was time for her to go Dias had allegedly grabbed hold of her and “gripped” her buttocks.

“He said 'Let's make love' and had tried to kiss her on the face and around her neck,” alleged Mr Dyble.

The girl pushed him away and a complaint was made to the police after she told relatives about what had happened.

Dias was arrested and denied ever meeting the girl or inviting her back to his flat. “He said it was made up or a case of mistaken identity,” said Mr Dyble.

Dias, of Parliament Road, Ipswich, has denied sexual activity with a child and two offences of sexual assault.

Mr Dyble said that two months after the alleged attack on the schoolgirl Dias had allegedly carried out sex attacks on a 77-year-old pensioner and a 50-year old woman.

He claimed that Dias, who had been drinking, had gone into an office where the women were having a meeting and had put his hand under the pensioner's top and touched her breast and had then tried to kiss the other woman's breasts and put his hand up her skirt.

He said the alleged incident was witnessed by a man who had been with the women at the time.

Dias had later denied the assaults on the two women and claimed he had been elsewhere.

The trial continues today.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Poland ranks 58 in most corrupt countries ranking

Poland ranked 58th in an index of the most corrupt countries in the world prepared by Transparency International, sharing the spot with Lithuania and Turkey

The report, which was based on perception of corruption by businesspeople and other professionals, revealed that Poland has scored 4.6, up by 0.4 points from last year. Stanislaw Cichocki, executive director at Transparency International said that Poland's score and perception improved due to the fact that the country is in the lead as one that has changed for the better.

Countries such as Somalia and Iraq were among those showing the highest levels of perceived corruption. "In the poorest countries, corruption levels can mean the difference between life and death, when money for hospitals or clean water is in play," said Huguette Labelle, chair of Transparency International.

Of 180 countries, Denmark, New Zealand and Sweden share the highest score at 9.3, while Somalia, Iraq and Myanmar scored the least.

"Stemming corruption requires strong oversight through parliaments, law enforcement, independent media and a vibrant civil society," said Labelle.
  • Note: The results are way, way, way too low; obviously someone was bribed...
  • Sunday, September 28, 2008

    Pole charged with murder in London

    Slawomir Zakrzewski appeared before a court in Greenwich, south London, today charged with the murder of a 54 year old woman.

    The victim, Gloria Burgos, was found beaten to death in a cafe she ran close to London Bridge last Monday.

    The 22 year old unemployed Pole is a resident of Crystal Palace, south London and has been detained in custody till his next hearing at the Old Bailey on December 12.

    Saturday, September 27, 2008

    Polish mother sold baby for two thousand zlotys

    Police have arrested a couple who bought a new-born baby from a 34 year old woman in Mogilno, north Poland for 2,000 zlotys.

    "The child has been born at September and shortly after that given to the young couple who reside in England" – said police spokesman Jaroslaw Bucholc Mogilno.

    After receiving information about the transaction police took in the mother of the child for further investigation. The woman said that the deal had been made in early June, three months before the birth.

    Police commenced a rapid search and informed border guards in case the couple tried to escape to England.

    The child is now under the doctors' protection.

    The mother of the the new-born has already five children and the police suspect that it might have been poverty that pushed her to sell the newborn.

    Human trafficking is a crime for which one can face from three years in person. Illegal abortion for profit is punishable by five years imprisonment.

    Friday, September 26, 2008

    In Poland ‘Chemical castration is constitutional’

    According to Poland’s Minister of Justice Zbigniew Cwiakalski, chemical castration of paedophiles is in accordance with article 40 of the Polish constitution.

    Yesterday, MPs from the left addressed a parliamentary question to the prime minister, asking him how the government plans to reconcile the obligatory castration of paedophiles with the constitution, which stresses that nobody can be submitted to torture or cruel, inhumane or humiliating treatment and punishment.

    The call for castration of sex offenders, made by Prime Minister Donald Tusk last week comes in the wake of the so-called ‘Polish Fritzl’ case where a man has been accused of long-term abuse of his daughter and fathering two children consequently.

    The justice minister stressed that chemical castration is not tantamount to surgical castration and is not, therefore, corporal punishment. "It is a reversible process," he stressed and explained that paedophiles would be merely given a drug lowering their sex drive.

    Cwiakalski said that doctors will decide about possible chemical castration. The offenders will be sent for treatment only after they serve their prison sentence. He explained that paedophiles should be taking medicine costing 500-600 zloty a month.

    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Poland premier's call for pedophile castration draws fire

    Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk's call for the forced chemical castration of convicted pedophiles is an attack on human rights, opposition parties said.

    "What the prime minister said was a scandal," Ryszard Kalisz, a deputy for the Democratic Left Alliance, said in an interview today with Radio Tok FM. His comment that 'there are people in Poland who aren't human beings' violates the constitution entirely."

    Tusk made his remarks after police arrested a man in the eastern Polish town of Siedlce on suspicion of sexually molesting his 21-year-old daughter for six years.

    Tusk has vowed to push for new laws allowing for the forced castration of sentenced pedophiles, saying the legislation would be the toughest in Europe. While some other European Union members such as Denmark offer chemical castration for sexual offenders on a voluntary basis, none have made it obligatory.

    The Helsinki Federation for Human Rights has criticized Tusk, saying medical treatment should not be forced on anyone and that nobody had the right to "state that any human was no longer a human."

    Seventy-nine percent of Poles are in favor of chemical castration for pedophiles, according to a SMG/KRC survey of 1,000 Poles conducted on Sept. 10-11.

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Poland risks repaying 150 mln euro in EU farm funds

    Poland may have to repay about 150 million euros ($217.6 million) to the European Union as a punishment for administrative flaws in the distribution of the bloc's farm aid funds, an EU source said on Thursday.

    The European Commission has proposed to recover the sum, after an audit for 2005-2006 showed irregularities in establishing areas eligible for EU farm payments through the use of satellite pictures.

    'We are not talking about corruption, we are talking about administrative flaws,' an official at the European Union executive said, asking not be named.

    The Commission will take a final decision on the fine in early 2009 after a conciliation meeting with Polish officials in December, so the lost funds may burden next year's budget.

    Poland's farm minister said he hoped the negotiations with Brussels would clarify the case so Poland would not have to repay the money.

    'We are in the process of clarifying things with the European Commission and we think the attempt to punish us so severely exceeds our guilt,' Marek Sawicki told Reuters on Thursday. 'We still have some time. Even if the EC sticks to the punishment, it will definitely not be as high as this.'

    The Commission may tell a member state to repay up to 50 percent of farm aid funds 'depending on the gravity of the problem', the Commission official said.

    More than 40 percent of the EU's annual budget of about 120 billion euros is spent on farm subsidies or rural development projects.

    Tuesday, September 23, 2008

    Builders take drunken ride in bulldozer

    Two Polish builders left a trail of destruction when they drove to a store in a digger truck after running out of booze on the building site.

    Marek Cowalski, 27 and Tomasz Dzwonicki, 19, plowed into parked cars, garden walls and fences and a set of traffic lights on their way to buy more drinks for a birthday binge on a building site in Glogow, south-west Poland.

    Police detained the pair after they tried to pull into a parking spot and instead drove into the shop and got stuck.

    The men were cut out of the dozer by firefighters and taken to jail. They face up to five years.

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Poland considers castration of pedophiles<

    Poland seriously considers introducing coerced treatment of pedophile attraction as part of the sentence for child sex offenders. The country's statistics show about 850 recorded cases of pedophilia a year.

    Joanna Najfeld reports

    The debate over castration for pedophiles was sparked by the shocking case of a 45-year old man accused of repeatedly raping his 21-year old daughter since she was fifteen years old. Commenting on that scandal, Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that he supports introducing coerced castration for pedophiles. According to the current regulations, the court may, but does not have to order therapy for a convicted child sex offender.

    'I would like Poland to introduce chemical castration not on the criminal's request, but as part of the sentence. I know such an idea will meet with outrage of human rights defenders. What I am saying may be radical, but I don't think that we can classify as "human" those individuals, such creatures as pedophiles. I don't think defense of human rights applies in their case,' said Donald Tusk.

    The Prime Minister's idea met with strong support. One poll have shown that 94% percent of society want radically stricter punishments for child sex offenders. Only 17% oppose chemical castration. According to another poll, one third of society, mostly young people, are convinced the best punishment for child sex crimes would be coerced surgical castration, which is a medically more effective method, as it involves amputation of the offender's testicles. Among those who support this solution is well-known journalist and writer, Wojciech Cejrowski, who said: 'Castration serves three purposes: number one - punishment, number two - prevention, but you have to cut off all of the tools, right? And number three - castration allows the criminal to be accepted back by society. For he is safe now. No more tools.'

    President Lech Kaczynski has promised cooperation and support to introduce stricter law against pedophilia. Poland's Ombudsman Janusz Kochanowski suggested chemical castration could apply also in cases of adult rape.

    Health Minister Ewa Kopacz said she thinks many mothers are waiting impatiently for the introduction of the new regulations. In her opinion, human rights -based counter arguments are out of place here. 'Whose rights are we defending? These people may be sick, but this is not just sickness, it is dangerous, it leads to crime against children,' she said.However, voices skeptical of more severe punishment for child sex offenders, have been raised too, though in very clear minority.

    Head of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal said that the European Bioethical Convention, which he hopes Poland will ratify, bans treatment without consent of the patient.

    Grzegorz Napieralski, leader of the post-communist Democratic Left Alliance, accuse the Prime Minister of trying to gain political support. So do radical leftist feminist groups.

    Deputy head of the European Commission Jacques Barrot said Poland should forget about obligatory castration, as no European law will agree to that.

    Justice Minister Zbigniew Cwiakalski confirmed international law may indeed prevent Poland from introducing surgical castration. What is possible, though, is a solution based on pharmacological reduction of sexual attraction. 'It's obvious that we cannot accept a solution that goes against European Union law or international law,' said Cwiakalski.

    Coerced chemical castration for pedophiles is legal in eight American states. The radical American Civil Liberties Union lobbies against it, citing the rights of pedophiles. In the UK, an offender who agrees to chemical castration may have his sentence reduced. Some years ago an attempt was made to legalize coerced chemical castration for pedophiles and rapists in Italy - it failed however, having been ridiculed as too radical. Sweden, which has the highest rates of rape in Europe, bans coerced treatment of pedophile attraction.

    Polish government officials started working on the new bill on pedophilia prevention some months ago. The initial draft proposed castration only for repeat offenders. Now the Prime Minister wants it to be "the strictest possible law punishing criminals who rape children". The new draft is to be ready within two weeks.

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    Chicago cop charged with aiding in Polish frame job

    A Crystal Lake man didn't like his wife's parenting skills or her spending habits, and that's why he got a Chicago police officer to help him frame her with drugs and a gun, Cook County prosecutors said. The prosecutors said the man gave them another reason, too: He wanted her money. Bogdan Mazur, who is in the midst of a divorce, tried to set up his estranged wife by planting cocaine, marijuana and a gun in her vehicle in April 2007 and having Grand-Central District Officer Slawomir Plewa arrest her, according to Assistant State's Atty. Lynn McCarthy.

    Plewa, 30, was arrested Monday and charged with official misconduct, perjury, obstruction of justice, unlawful restraint and false reporting. Mazur of the 900 block of Wedgewood Drive in Crystal Lake was arrested Monday on charges of filing a false police report, obstruction of justice, conspiracy to manufacture or deliver cocaine and cannabis, and conspiracy to commit unlawful use of a weapon. Court testimony Tuesday indicated Mazur is 48, though police records indicate he is 47. Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. ordered both men held in lieu of $250,000 bail. McCarthy said Mazur told police that he met Plewa met through a mutual friend in early 2007 and they planned the false arrest with an uncharged co-conspirator. On April 1, 2007, Mazur met with several police officers, included Plewa, at a parking garage near Belmont and Central Avenues, McCarthy said. There, Mazur told the officers he was certain drugs were in his wife's vehicle. Mazur then called his wife in the officers' presence and told her his car wouldn't start and she needed to come pick up their two young children, who were with him, McCarthy said. Mazur and the uncharged co-conspirator had put a .22-caliber pistol, cocaine and cannabis in the spare-tire compartment, McCarthy said. When the woman arrived, Plewa stopped her and asked if he could search her vehicle, McCarthy said. She said yes. Police found the plastic bag, which contained 44.5 grams of cocaine, 62 grams of cannabis and a gun, McCarthy said. The woman was arrested and charged with gun and drug offenses.

    Mazur told police he was angry with his wife and some of her "spending choices and disagreed with some of her parenting decisions," McCarthy said. He planned to split his estranged wife's assets with the co-conspirator after she was convicted. The co-conspirator also was going to help him with Immigration problems. Mazur is a Polish citizen in the United States illegally, McCarthy said. Plewa said in police reports, before the grand jury and in the woman's trial that an anonymous person gave him information that led to her arrest. The woman was acquitted of the charges in January. After the acquittal, the woman's attorney, Steven Messner, said he told Assistant State's Atty. Bob Milan he suspected the case was phony. Plewa had admitted he never made note of the meeting with the informant nor tried to verify the information with anyone else, Messner said. And a fingerprint taken from the packaging around the gun and drugs did not match the estranged wife's, Messner said. Plewa is a seven-year veteran of the department, assigned to the gang-narcotics team for much of that time, and has never before been disciplined, said Dan Herbert, Plewa's attorney. "Officer Plewa did nothing wrong in this case," Herbert told the judge during the bond hearing. "Officer Plewa received information from a confidential informant, and that confidential informant turned out to be Mr. Bogdan [Mazur]." As Herbert extolled the virtues of his client, the judge interrupted him. "These allegations strike at the heart of what we do here every day," Bourgeois said. "George Orwell wrote a book about this."

    The judge ordered Plewa to turn in any guns he owns. After the hearing, Herbert said Plewa had already done so. Herbert said Plewa was an aggressive police officer who trusted the word of someone he considered a confidential informant. Plewa was stripped of police powers Aug. 22 and is not being paid, police said. Chicago police said Plewa was the subject of an internal investigation that resulted in his arrest. He was the third officer arrested this year based on an internal investigation. "The actions of this officer do not represent the vast majority of honorable, hard-working police officers who risk their lives everyday," Deputy Supt. Peter Brust said in a statement. In 2006, Plewa was sued in federal court by a mentally handicapped man who claimed that the officer and others pulled him from a parked vehicle, beat him and dragged him in the street. In March 2007, the city settled the suit for $50,000.

    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    Poles and other EU criminals flock to Scottish haven

    Extraditions from Scotland to EU nations have increased 10-fold since 2003, soaring from just six cases to 60 already this year.

    Fugitives wanted in their home countries for offences ranging from embezzlement and theft to rape have targeted Scotland, attracted by existing immigrant communities as well as the remote geography.

    Almost half of the extraditions are to eastern European states admitted after EU expansion in 2004, and Poles make up approximately a third of the total.

    David Dickson, the deputy head of the Crown Office department responsible for extraditions, said: "We have been averaging at two or three a week this summer. About 30% of them are for people from Poland."

    Based on population, Scotland is attracting more fleeing EU criminals than England. Scotland accounts for 9% of the UK population but gets 15% of the UK's extradition requests.

    Dickson said: "Perhaps people think that somewhere like Scotland they have the chance to escape the long arm of the law. Well, they're wrong."

    The case of Polish migrant worker Robert Labutin is typical. For two years he hid in Edinburgh with a job, girlfriend, baby, council house, bank loan and a sick mother to look after. But the 30-year-old was also a fugitive and should have been serving a two-year sentence in his native Poland for drug-dealing.

    He was also wanted in his home town of Koszalin, in the country's north-west, on an allegation that, along with another party, he used threats to force a child to have sex. If found guilty, he will face up to 15 years in jail.

    Labutin, who lived in Bo'ness, was last month ordered to be extradited to Poland. He had, Edinburgh Sheriff Court heard last month, been "unlawfully at large" in the country.

    Like Labutin, many fugitives simply fail to do enough to hide their identities. Labutin even rented his council house in his own name.

    Polish authorities last year sought more than 250 fugitives in England and Wales alone. As many as one in 20 of them had been in trouble in the UK before they were caught. At one point there were so many people awaiting to be extradited that the Polish government sent a charter plane to pick them up.

    Friday, September 19, 2008

    Boruc in trouble - again

    Glasgow Celtic and Poland international Artur Boruc is being investigated after making an allegedly obscene gesture to fans of fans of arch-rivals Glasgow Rangers.

    The problems seem to pile up for Poland's best goalkeeper Artur Boruc. The Celtic Glasgow star was recently suspended from the Polish national team for unacceptable behaviour. Now, the Scottish Football Association wants a word with him on the obscene gesture he made to the Glasgow Rangers fans during a match on 31 August.

    The player has a history of trying to anger the fans of the opposing team.

    He is to answer before the association on 16 September after he was photographed during a match showing the middle finger to the Rangers fans. If he is considered guilty, he faces a fine or suspension.

    In the past, Boruc repeatedly stressed his Catholic faith and devotion to Pope John Paul II to play on the nerves of the traditionally Protestant Rangers fans.

    In August, after a World Cup elimination match against Ukraine, Boruc drank alcohol against the orders of the coach, for which he was suspended for an indefinite period.

    Thursday, September 18, 2008

    Post #700: Football fans allege police torture

    Football fans of two capital city teams Legia and Polonia, arrested a week ago during football riots in Warsaw, are to notify the public prosecutor’s office, accusing police of unjustified violence against them while being interrogated.

    According to the fans, policemen used physical and psychological violence in order to force confessions to charges of participation in an illegal gathering, leveled against 752 people detained during the riots.

    Over 200 hooligans pleaded guilty but only eight of them were charged with more serious offences, including destruction of property and attacking a police officer.

    All hooligans detained last week were banned from future matches at the Legia stadium for two years.

    Wednesday, September 17, 2008

    District prosecutor presses for corruption charges

    A year and a half after the spectacular detention of Miroslaw G., the former head of the cardiosurgery department at the Interior Ministry hospital in Warsaw, the prosecutor has accused him of corruption
    "Miroslaw G. was accused of committing 41 crimes related to accepting financial benefits from patients or their families," said Katarzyna Szeska, the spokesperson of the district prosecutor in Warsaw.

    "Another charge is related to persistent violation of employees' rights to the damage of medical personnel."

    The total value of bribes that the former doctor accepted stands at around zl.50,000. The accusation, however, does not include the several hundred bottles of luxurious cognacs and vodkas which were found by Central Anticorruption Bureau (CBA) officers while searching his house in February last year.

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Ziobro convicted

    Former Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro may have to apologize publicly for the defamation of a cardiac surgeon Dr. Miroslaw G.

    The district court in Krakow ordered Ziobro, currently a member of Parliament, to issue an apology on TVP, TVN and Polsat during prime time, after the evening news. The former minister was also ordered to pay zl.7,000 in compensation.
    During a press conference after the March 2007 arrest of Dr. Miroslaw G., who was at that time suspected of murder and corruption, Zbigniew Ziobro said, referring to the surgeon, "no person will ever be deprived of life by this man again."

    Ziobro's defense was that his words had been taken out of the context and misinterpreted. He also blamed the media for exaggerated coverage of this case. The court's verdict may still be appealed. "The court didn't give me a chance to show my evidence or listen to my witness testimony," said Zbigniew Ziobro upon exiting the court building, announcing his appeal.

    Monday, September 15, 2008

    The Polish Fritzl

    A man has been arrested in Poland for imprisoning his daughter for six years, raping her repeatedly and fathering two children who were immediately put up for adoption. Sounds familiar?

    The 45 year old man comes from Siedlce, eastern Poland and is now in custody after she finally reported him.

    His wife knew about all this, but was too afraid to do anything about it. Police are now searching for the two children, born in February 2005 and January 2007, to establish that they were the result of the sexual abuse.

    Of course, the case clearly resembles the Austrian Josef Fritzl case earlier this year. I wonder if the western media will re-hash the nonsense they came out with then - that Fritzl was a product of Austria’s Nazi past and how “Central/Eastern Europe” just can’t come to terms with its past?

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    Poland’s government knew all about ‘secret’ CIA prisons?

    Radio Zet has alleged that top ministers in the previous Law and Justice government were shown a report back in 2006 detailing the existence of those illusive CIA prisons in Poland used to detain Islamist terrorist suspects.

    The names who saw and authored the report will be familiar to regular readers of this blog.

    The author was our old friend Roman Giertych, who was heading a committee on the activities of Poland’s secret services at the time.

    His report, written sometime in 2006 - confirming allegations made by Human Rights Watch back in late 2005 - was seen by Zbigniew Ziobro, state prosecutor Janusz Kaczmarek and special services coordinator Zbigniew Wasserman.

    Crucially, today’s allegations have neither been confirmed nor denied by the present state prosecutor, Marek Staszak.

    My understanding of the evidence collected by the Council of Europe’s report - which supported the original allegations made by the NGO and the Washington Post - you can see here and here.

    Government ministers, and former president Aleksander Kwasniewski have always denied the allegations, dismissing them as nonsense.

    In May 2007, the U.N. Committee Against Torture called on the Law and Justice government to disclose information gathered by Poland’s parliamentary committee on the CIA prisons issue. Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski dismissed the request: “The matter is now closed,” he said. But if the parliamentary committee had had access to the report written by Roman Giertych - and is it not too dumb to presume that they had? - then he, the prime minister, knew of the existence of these places in Poland.

    If Radio Zet’s information is correct then several politicians are, quite simply, telling naughty little fibs.

    Even though the present Polish government announced that an investigation into the issue would be re-opened, Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said this week:

    "I have commented the issue as defense minister and I can take the responsibility for what I know and for what took place when I was responsible for military installations.

    "I can once again categorically confirm -- during the time of the Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz and Jaroslaw Kaczynski governments, and also now, nothing like that has taken place in Poland."

    So that is a flat denial, then. But we must look at Sikorski’s words carefully, however. He is stating that not since Law and Justice took office in November 2005 - Radek has been a minister in both the previous and present governments - have there been CIA prisons in Poland. But the reports following the initial allegations by Human Rights Watch stated that the prisons were closed down around the same time as the Law and Justice government won the election.

    So maybe Sikorski is merely saying that there have not been any such prisons in Poland for the last three years. He is not saying there never have been.

    The Council of Europe’s report quoted one US military intelligence source as saying: “Listen, Poland agreed top down…from the president [Kwasniewski], yes….to provide the CIA all it needed.”

    If Radio Zet’s report turns out to be true then Giertych, Ziobro and ex-Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski are going to have a lot of explaining to do.

    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    Prime Minister ready to testify on CIA prisons

    Prime Minister Donald Tusk announced on Friday that he is ready to testify on alleged CIA prisons in Poland.

    "If there is a need, if my testimony will be in any way important, then certainly yes," Donald Tusk told journalists when asked whether he planned to testify.

    Last month, the State Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw started an investigation into whether the Polish government agreed to establish the alleged secret CIA prisons in Poland.

    According to a private Polish radio station, Radio ZET, a report confirming the existence of the CIA prisons in Poland, written by Roman Giertych, then head of a committee looking into the activities of Poland's secret services, was shown to top ministers in the previous government led by the Law and Justice party, such as the then justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro, state prosecutor Janusz Kaczmarek and special services coordinator Zbigniew Wasserman.

    Another radio station, RMF FM, reported on Thursday that in 2006 a secret meeting on the CIA prisons took place in Wasserman's office. According to the radio, the then head of the Foreign Intelligence Agency, Zbigniew Nowek, brought a set of information available on the CIA prisons in Poland and was seen by all those present.

    Friday's Gazeta Wyborcza daily reported that Roman Giertych informed Donald Tusk just after he became prime minister late last year about the note prepared by the Foreign Intelligence Agency concerning the prisons.

    Donald Tusk said that the information sent to him by Giertych was vague and denied being informed about the note.

    Since the allegations of the existence of CIA prisons was made back in late 2005 by the NGO Human Rights Watch and reported in the Washington Post, government ministers past and present - denied any knowledge of a prison based at the Szymon airport not far from the capital city.

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    Official - Polish canoeist was on drugs

    “B test” results have confirmed that Polish canoeists Adam Seroczynski had been taking an illegal drug during the Olympics.

    The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) found traces of clenbutherol in the athlete's blood. Seroczynski denies taking anything, but after the preliminary results were announced, he decided to end his career.

    "Everyone is shocked, they know me and they know that I would never use such methods. My family, friends and coaches stand by me," the athlete told the TVN24 news channel.

    During the summer Olympic Games in Beijing Adam Seroczynski and his K2 partner Mariusz Kujawski came in fourth in the 1000 m canoe race. They missed the winners' podium by 0.007 seconds.

    Seroczynski is a former European champion and Olympic bronze medalist in K4 race from Sydney. Beijing Olympic Games were the third event of this rank in his 20-year-long career.

    The International Olympic Committee Disciplinary Commission is to meet on 21 September 2008 to look into the case of the Polish canoeist. The athlete himself has a right to take part in the sitting, accompanied by up to three people.

    Thursday, September 11, 2008

    Warsaw indifferent to family violence, says poll

    There is nothing improper in smacking children or beating up an unfaithful wife in the eyes of a majority of Varsovians, reveals a shocking new opinion poll.

    Family violence does exist, but it is not of direct concern to Warsaw dwellers, say 88 per cent of respondents to an opinion poll conducted among the residents of the Polish capital by the Social Communication Centre.

    According to the poll’s results, one in two Varsovians approves of beating up an unfaithful wife and 36 per cent believe that smacking children is a justifiable and forgivable educational method. Shockingly, a majority of them do not see violence as “evil”.

    Only one in nine would actively respond to an act of violence by calling the police, one in four would find it hard to know what to do in the face of family violence among their neighbours, while 14 per cent admit they would do nothing.

    The pollster also informs that only 15 per cent of the respondents believe that their actions could have an impact on improving the situation of family violence victims.

    In June, the Warsaw Town Hall appointed a team of experts on family violence who will cooperate with Warsaw police, prosecutors, courts and NGOs to gather information about acts of family violence among the people of Warsaw.

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Hooligans to be banned for 2 years

    Hooligans arrested three days ago during football riots in Warsaw are to be banned from future matches at the Legia stadium.

    The proposed ban of the 741 hooligans will be for the Legia ground only, however.

    On Tuesday, before the match between Polonia and Legia, police confiscated knuckle dusters, crackers, knifes, forks and jaw protectors. Arrested "fans" were charged with destruction of property, participation in an illegal gathering and attacking police officers.

    Tuesday, September 09, 2008

    More than 700 Polish hooligans arrested before cup match

    Police arrested 741 football hooligans in Warsaw before a Polish cup match, a spokeswoman told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa on Wednesday.

    The hooligans were arrested Tuesday evening in the largest police action against rioting football fans in years, she said.

    The youths, some of them minors, threw stones and firecrackers at security forces who were escorting them to a Legia vs. Polonia cup match.

    Violence erupted after some 1,000 hooligans met outside a hotel in the capitol and headed towards the stadium, the Rzeczpospolita reported. Fans from each team had been escorted, separately, to the stadium by police. One group later split up as police tried to contain them.

    Security forces managed to rein in some 400 hooligans on a grass lawn near the Old Town before they were attacked.

    One police car was destroyed in the rioting and three hooligans were injured. The hooligans, some with masked faces, also damaged two private vehicles after jumping on top of them, reported the Polish Press Agency. They were fans of Legia and a 'couple other teams.'

    The cup match between the two Polish Premier League teams - both from Warsaw - ended in a draw. There were no incidents during the match.

    The rioters face custodial sentences of one to 10 years.

    Vice-premier Grzegorz Schetyna said some of the hooligans will be charged, and promised a tougher,'no tolerance' policy against violence in football.

    'If there's disapproval of hooliganism and anonymity, we'll effectively throw out these people from the stadiums,' Schetyna said. 'They must be cut off from football and sport.'

    Schetyna said new stadium regulations could take effect from 2009, and will include tougher punishments for hooligans.

    'We won't lack determination to make Polish stadiums safe,' he said.

    'It's important to us that a ban from the stadium will become a European ban. That those who got (a ban) won't have entry to Euro 2012 matches and to every European Championship or World Championship.'

    Polish authorities had previously pledged to crack down on hooliganism, but the issue has recently become sensitive as Poland prepares to co-host the Euro 2012 football championship.

    The arrest on Tuesday sparked debate on how to best deal with the hooliganism that's plagued the nation's stadiums for years.

    In June, Prime Minister Donald Tusk had said it's 'better not to' organize the Euro in Poland if hooligans continue to rule the stadiums.

    Tusk said those who come to games armed with weapons are potential murderers and should be treated as such by police. The biggest problem in the nation's stadiums, he said, is the tolerance football fans show towards hooligans.

    Monday, September 08, 2008

    Polish driver faces jail after killing pedestrian

    A YOUNG driver who knocked down and killed a Rugby woman after speeding past road works early one morning has been convicted of causing her death by dangerous driving.

    Polish national Aleksandra Kalinowska had denied causing the death of 54-year-old mother and grandmother Susan Vernon by dangerous driving in October last year.

    Her barrister Gregory Fishwick argued: "Have we moved into a blame culture? Sometimes accidents do happen. It was a very tragic accident, but that is all it was."

    But the jury at Warwick Crown Court took just 80 minutes to find Kalinowska guilty by a unanimous verdict.

    The case was adjourned for a report to be prepared on Kalinowska, who was granted bail with conditions that she lives at her new address in Craven Road, Rugby, and reports to the police once a week.

    Judge David McEvoy QC told her: "I must warn you that I shall be contemplating sending you to prison."

    At 6.20am on October 3, Mrs. Vernon was crossing Bilton Road on her way back to her home in nearby Sissinghurst Close after buying some milk
    when she was hit by Kalinowska's red VW Golf.

    Tragically Mrs. Vernon, a married woman with children and grandchildren, suffered multiple internal and external injuries and died at the scene.

    Kalinowska had pulled into the centre of the road as she passed some roadworks. She said she did not see Mrs. Vernon until she had hit her - but denied speeding.

    Kalinowska claimed she had thought the limit was 40mph on the 30mph stretch of road, but denied she was going anywhere near 50mph.

    Asked if something was happening in the car, she replied through an interpreter: "I was not on the phone and I was not changing the radio.
    I cannot explain why I did not see her, I just did not."

    Sunday, September 07, 2008

    Ziobro gives up parliamentary immunity

    Former justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro (PiS) has released his parliamentarian immunity, allowing the public prosecutor's office to charge him with exceeding his ministerial power while in office in 2006.

    The resignation of immunity comes after the Parliamentary Regulations Committee reopened the case this morning.

    MP Jaroslaw Urbaniak (Civic Platform - PO), presented the Sejm, the lower house of parliament with the charges brought against the former justice minister.

    In July this year, the Rzeczpospolita daily wrote that the Prosecutor’s Office from Plock, central Poland, wanted to take away Ziobro’s parliamentary immunity, in order to charge him for allegedly disclosing secret court records to his party chairman, Jaroslaw Kaczynski in 2006.

    The confidential files included depositions of a businessman and former Polish Deputy Labour Minister Krzysztof Baszniak, who claimed that huge bribes had been involved in a contract between the state-owned Orlen and Russian Yukos Oil in 2003 when the post-communist SLD was in power.

    Urbaniak argued that the Polish Constitution stipulates that “all citizens are equal before the law” and that “no one can hide behind an MP’s immunity”.

    He also criticised the incident at the previous meeting of the Regulations Committee in July, when the Committee members from the Law and Justice (PiS) left the conference room in protest against government counterparts, who wanted to proceed in spite of Ziobro’s absence.

    Zbigniew Ziobro, initially present at today’s meeting, left the conference room once again, in protest at Jaroslaw Urbaniak’s speech.

    In a related story, Former justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro claims his statements accusing Doctor Miroslaw G of murder were taken out of context.

    Doctor G. has accused former justice minister Zbigniew Ziobro of defamation and demands an apology and 70,000 zloty in compensation after comments he made last year when the doctor was arrested for corruption and murder.

    Ziobro said after the famous Warsaw based surgeon was arrested on murder charges subsequently dropped: "This man will never take someone's life again.”

    During yet another day of the trial, the judge ordered a 3,5-hour recess, Monday. A few days ago, the representatives of the politician submitted such extensive pleading that the court gave the surgeon's representative time to get acquainted with it. The heart surgeon did not appear in court, though the former minister did.

    Zbigniew Ziobro told journalists that the pleading includes evidence that his statement was taken out of context and misinterpreted. He said that during the press conference when he said those words, he repeated several times that he was talking only of the charges against Miroslaw G., not facts. The politician also blamed journalists for blowing the case out of proportion.

    Heart surgeon Miroslaw G. was detained by the Central Anticorruption Bureau in March last year on corruption and murder charges. He was then the head of the heart surgery unit at Warsaw's Internal Ministry Hospital. He is now charged with, among others, corruption and mobbing, but the District Public Prosecutor's Office in Warsaw dropped the murder charges against him.

    Saturday, September 06, 2008

    Cannabis farm raided in Lodz

    Police successfully shut down a cannabis plantation in Laska, near the industrial city of Lodz on Monday morning. The police seized more than 500 bushes of Indian Cannabis and arrested three men for the cultivation of marijuana.

    Tomasz Kowalczyk, spokesperson for the Laska police, stated that “The plantation was made up of 500 independent, mature bushes. Each of them were well-tended.”

    Police had been observing the location for some time, when three men, between the ages 19 and 25, arrived and provided an opportunity to move in. The police raided and caught the men just as they were bringing one of the largest plants to their vehicle.

    All of the plants were confiscated and taken to a police storehouse while their net worth is being calculated.

    The minimum sentence for the illegal growth of marijuana is three years in prison, though the maximum sentence is eight years, depending upon the size of the crop.

    Friday, September 05, 2008


    WARSAW - Prosecutors said Tuesday they are investigating a Polish jewelry firm producing replicas of Nazi-era memorabilia for a buyer in Germany.

    Its headquarters were searched by the Internal Security Agency, spokeswoman Malgorzata Klaus at the prosecutor's office in the southwest city of Wroclaw told the domestic PAP news agency.

    The raid turned up Nazi replicas including swastikas, military insignia and rings with skulls modelled on those worn by Nazi Germany's SS troops.

    Thursday, September 04, 2008

    Security guard arrested for drunken shooting

    In Olsztyn, north-eastern Poland, police arrested a construction site security guard who was drunkenly shooting at workers.

    Warminsko-Mazury police spokesperson, Anna Siwek, assured that, “Fortunately, no one that Jerzy O. shot at was hurt. Witnesses immediately called the police and the drunk security guard was arrested.”

    The police report that the security guard randomly shot in the direction of the male workers as they were approaching the building site in a company vehicle. The man faces up to three years in prison.

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Jail for not burning cigarettes

    A company in Chelm, eastern Poland, has been found guilty of hiding cigarettes it was supposed to be getting rid of.

    The Chelm police raided the company on Wednesday and found almost 50,000 packets of contraband cigarettes that the company received from customs to burn. According to the company's documents, the cigarettes did not exist any more.

    The police entered the company's premises immediately after a new batch of contraband cigarettes were brought in for burning by customs officers. They found a 6-metre deep hiding place containing the officially destroyed cigarettes. Three such hiding places were found at the company's premises. Each had a fake bottom, even covered with fake trash, and had enough space for a whole truckload of cigarettes.

    The 45-year-old co-owner of the company was detained. He faces even up to three years in prison. The police are now questioning his employees and are trying to established where the illegal merchandise went to.

    Tuesday, September 02, 2008

    New anti-corruption measure to fight bent refs

    The Polish Football Association is introducing a new measure fighting corruption among Polish refs and wants them to sign a blank promissory note for a million zlotys each.

    The Polish Football Association (PZPN) has announced that by September 3, every Polish referee from the Polish Premier League who wants to keep his job, has to sign a statement saying that he will not set up match results. If caught doing so he will be liable to pay 1 million zlotys.

    "Those who will not sign will not be able to referee. End of story,” Head of PZPN’s College of Referees, Slawomir Stempniewski told journalists.

    “In general, the referees are against this measure,” a first-league referee, Jaroslaw Zyro commented on the new anticorruption steps in Gazeta Wyborcza newspaper.

    Wide-scale corruption in Polish football involving setting up match results was revealed in the course of a few months end of 2007 and beginning of 2008. As a result, several Football Association members, referees, coaches and footballers have heard charges and a few first league football clubs have been downgraded to lower leagues.

    Monday, September 01, 2008

    Polish Enigma

    Life was frustrating (in Poland), but that certainly wasn’t the full story. My experiences that evening, the surreal and incomprehensible swing from stagnation and irritation in the hypermarche to bliss and exhilaration ten minutes later on the streets reflected the complicated reality of life in Poland. It is full of inconsistencies, bureaucratic mazes, masked faces, false hopes, and intense pride, but also an enchanting aura wafting through the crevices, a sorrowful but angelic aria permeating the nation’s soul. In order to completely understand its mystery, one would need to spend a lifetime peeling back the layers, painstakingly deciphering its clues. Poland, I was discovering, was an enigma.

    I was in good company as I tried to resolve its riddles. My first months in Krakow were a tumultuous period in Polish domestic as well as foreign relations- a time when European Union leaders and Poland’s own citizens would become increasingly confounded with the status quo.
    Particularly within the EU, a swelling “Poland fatigue” came to dominate all diplomacy like an omnipresent and obstinate cloud. Having expanded to include Poland in 2004, the former member states complained increasingly vocally that Poland seemed to mistakenly believe that the EU had joined it, rather than the other way around.

    Resenting the march of European history that had nearly obliterated and then forgotten it, and realizing its geopolitical leverage for the first time, Poland overplayed its hand in round after round, alienating nearly every ally. The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) retaliated over the most minor infractions with Germany, at one point cancelling a high level visit due to an unfavorable newspaper editorial. As the EU attempted to wrap up the Lisbon Treaty negotiations, an increasingly mercurial and sanctimonious Polish posture towards Germany threatened to unravel years of international effort. Warsaw also impeded Brussels’ efforts to thaw relations with Moscow, raising concerns over Russian energy shipments to the subcontinent as winter rapidly approached.

    An overwhelming and self-defeating paranoia and victimization in combination with an intense messianic mission drove Warsaw’s self perception and policy. Acidly hostile towards Germany due to unresolved disputes from the Second World War and distrusting Russia following the Cold War; still bitter at the opulent “West” for its perceived abandonment of Poland twice to its enemies; convinced of its fraternal and moral mission to lead the nations of Eastern Europe to freedom; and finally, certain only of the military backing of the distant United States, Poland lashed out at its past and nearly lost its foothold on the future.

    The situation was at least as bad on the home front. Besieging its opponents with allegations of corruption, mafia ties, sex crimes and communism, PiS found itself caught in its own avalanche and lost control of the political implosion it had set in motion. Championing the interests of its primarily elderly, agrarian, impoverished and staunchly Catholic supporters, the President and Prime Minister (coincidentally, twin brothers) failed to inspire the hope of young, educated workers with upward aspirations and experience abroad. Clinging to a sense of moral superiority and confident in a victory, the majority party voted to dissolve itself in September.

    Weary of PiS’s overzealous political machinations, the EU held its breath for one month. When the results of the snap elections were tallied, it, and much of Poland, was able to finally breathe a sigh of relief. Donald Tusk, of the pro-business Civic Platform, had persuaded voters that the time for a new course in domestic and foreign policy had arrived. Young, attractive and athletic, well educated and articulate, hopeful and charismatic, he appeared the John F. Kennedy to the Nikita Krushchev. Immediately shaking hands with EU leaders, he promised to revive Poland’s relationship with the supranational body, and promptly set to work on ironing out old problems. Particularly with Russia, cracks appeared in the ice if not a thaw, as Tusk sent high level delegations to discuss bilateral issues. And with the US, Tusk has held a firmer line, delicately attempting to balance the wishes of its former champion with its geopolitical reality.

    In spite of the greatest turnout PiS had ever seen by its supporters, Tusk carried the election due to tidal wave of support, primarily by younger citizens, many of whom cast their votes from abroad. Whether Tusk will be the answer to Poland’s heartfelt prayers remains to be seen; what is clear at this point is the desire of the nation’s younger generation to make peace with the past and take its proper place on the pedestals of Europe.