Giertych was detained last Thursday, a day before the trial during which the court was set to decide the motion for the arrest of Leszek Czarnecki, the owner of Getin Noble Bank and Idea Bank, for his alleged involvement in the GetBack scandal. Two days before his detention, Giertych, in his capacity as Czarnecki's attorney, sent the court a reply to the prosecutor's request, in which he claimed that the charges against Czarnecki were unfounded and were disgracing the prosecutor's office.
For the Minister of Justice and the General Prosecutor Zbigniew Ziobro, the GetBack case is a particularly important one. On September 21, 2020, three years after the news about the GetBack scandal, the biggest financial scandal during the rule of the Law and Justice party (the loss was 2.7 billion zlotys), hit the headlines, Ziobro announced that Czarnecki was the main perpetrator.
GetBack funded media events related to the Law and Justice (PiS), and sponsored awards given to Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Chairman of the Law and Justice (PiS) party Jaroslaw Kaczynski, and state institutions praised the company on numerous occasions. Finding a scapegoat to cover up these close links would be very valuable to the ruling camp.
Officially, Giertych's detention was connected with his alleged participation in the "defrauding of 92 million zlotys from a stock-listed real estate company".
Immediately after the announcement of the lawyer's arrest, the pro-government portals TVP Info and wPolityce.pl started to leak the prosecutorial charges. Meanwhile, at the time of the arrest, Giertych told "Gazeta Wyborcza" that the case was "absolutely political" and "a revenge for his anti-government activity".
As an attorney, Giertych is representing, among others, the former PM and President of the European Council Donald Tusk and the former MFA and current MEP Radosław Sikorski. What is more, he represents the Austrian businessman Gerald Birgfellner in the case of the "two towers" scandal, concerning Jarosław Kaczyński's plan to build two skyscrapers in the centre of Warsaw, allegedly with the use of his political influence.
Giertych's conflict with the Law and Justice, Jarosław Kaczyński and Zbigniew Ziobro dates back to 2007. At that time, as a deputy prime minister, he broke off the coalition agreement with the Law and Justice party in protest against politicized actions of the secret services and prosecutors, which led to early parliamentary elections and Kaczyński's resignation from the post of the Prime Minister. Giertych, who was a leader of a far-right, religious conservative party "The League of Polish Families", lost his parliamentary mandate.
Giertych was hospitalized under unclear circumstances
During the arrest on Thursday, Giertych fainted while being alone in the bathroom with a secret agent, and was later hospitalized. His initial state was described as serious. The next day, the prosecutor from the District Prosecutor's Office in Poznan came to the hospital and presented Giertych with his charges.
However, as Giertych's attorney Jakub Wende explained to the media, his client "did not say a word, did not state whether he understood the charge or admitted it. He did not sign the protocol. He was unaware of what was happening. This is an absolute violation of the standards of civil rights, human rights".
The Prosecutor's Office issued an announcement in which it claimed that Giertych was simulating the loss of consciousness. But Professor Andrzej Friedman, a neurologist who examined him on Friday morning, strongly ruled out such a possibility.
The prosecutors' actions were "inhumane and degrading"
From Friday, the hospital conducted a series of tests to explain what happened to Giertych. Initially a stroke was suspected, but it seems that the doctors are not sure. The hospital ordered additional toxicological reports. Giertych left the hospital on Tuesday, but there is still no information as to what caused his collapse.
Giertych's lawyers claim that their client does not have the status of a suspect, since the prosecutor responsible for presenting the charges stated herself that "it was impossible to reach contact with the person of interest" in her protocol due to the fact that he was unconscious. The fact that Giertych was unconscious would preclude the prosecutor from effectively presenting the charges, which in turn would mean that Giertych cannot be considered a suspect.
Lawyers from the Committee for the Defense of Justice emphasize that taking actions of interrogation against a person who is in a state of health or life threatening danger may be a sign of torture, inhumane or degrading treatment as defined in Article 40 of the Constitution of the Republic of Poland and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Given the circumstances, they wrote that the actions taken against Roman Giertych are aimed at intimidation, obtaining materials covered by the attorney-client privilege and diverting public attention from the inability of state authorities to solve problems related to the epidemic.
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