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Four police officers spent almost four hours in the apartment of a "Gazeta Wyborcza" journalist Piotr Bakselerowicz demanding he hand over all of his electronic devices, including the company laptop and cellphone containing confidential journalistic material. The order came from police headquarters in Warsaw. Some of the officers were armed but remained calm. They questioned the journalist.
Mr Bakselerowicz refused to hand over his work equipment because the police officers were unable to show him a warrant giving them a right to seize any property. There was also no court order obliging him to disclose his journalistic sources.
The pretext for confiscating the equipment was supposed to be an e-mail with threats allegedly sent to one of the local Law and Justice party MPs from an IP linked to the "Wyborcza" journalist. - I certainly did not send such an e-mail. I have never threatened anyone. To me, it is a provocation or an attempt at revenge for writing inconvenient articles- says Piotr Bakselerowicz. The journalist had good relations with the member of the Law and Justice party. Recently, he interviewed him about local basketball games.
The officers were waiting for instructions from Warsaw headquarter. They were ordered to seize the journalist’s electronic devices. After 12:30 p.m., a fifth police officer arrived on the site. The officers seized the equipment (laptops, phone, internet router), and prepared a report. The report reads: "forcible seizure of property". The equipment is to be sent to Warsaw. According to one of the officers, the cellphone should be returned to the journalist within a few hours, after local police officers have checked it for proof.
All policemen left the apartment shortly before 1:30 p.m., taking the seized equipment with them.
Lieutenant Irmina Sulich from the Warsaw Police Headquarters: - I confirm that such an intervention is taking place. Activities are being carried out on site in connection with criminal threats against one of the members of parliament. All updates regarding the police intervention can be found on our Twitter account.
Here is what the Warsaw Police Headquarters Tweeted: "The police cannot ignore a report of a serious threat just because the suspect is a journalist".
Michał Wierzchołowicz, an attorney representing "Gazeta Wyborcza" is on site. Mr Bakselerowicz is also joined by other local "Wyborcza" journalists.
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