"I am very sorry that prosecutors are treated in this way"
Polish prosecutors critical of government reforms say they are being punished by being reassigned at short notice to posts hundreds of kilometres away - something their employer says is necessary to address pandemic-related staff shortages.
Prosecutor Katarzyna Kwiatkowska was told on Monday that, from Wednesday, she will be working in a town 181 km from her home. The National Public Prosecutor's Office said in a statement that it had so far assigned 18 prosecutors to "the smallest and most overloaded prosecution units", which were struggling to replace staff affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
But for Kwiatkowska, it is no coincidence that five prosecutors being sent to offices hundreds of kilometres away are members of Lex Super Omnia, an association critical of the judicial reforms. "There have been a lot of emotions inside me since yesterday," she said, adding that she did not have a place to stay in her new town. "At the moment I am very sorry that prosecutors are treated in this way."
PiS merged the posts of justice minister and prosecutor general in 2016. With the executive and the prosecution service under one roof, critics say that prosecutors ready to carry out the government's wishes advance quickly, while those who do not are punished.
Laurent Pech, Professor of European Law at Middlesex University London, said it was "laughable" to say that the prosecutors were being moved because of the pandemic: "What we are seeing today is just essentially the consequences of this legislation from 2016 which has opened the door to ... arbitrary use of prosecution services for political goals."
Źródło zdjęcia głównego: TVN24