On 26 October 2021, the District Court in Lublin refused to tighten the preventive measures imposed on Bartosz Kramek, the Head of the Board and a trustee of the Open Dialogue Foundation, finding them unreasonable and disproportionate. Thus, the court lifted the ban on leaving the country and the police probation, i.e. Bartek’s obligation to report to the police station five times a week. “The prosecutor had unreasonably imposed the restrictions, the measures were disproportionate and breached the right of privacy and family life“, the court’s reasoning said.
It should be recalled that on 23 June 2021, on the order of investigators from the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Lublin, Internal Security Agency officers detained Bartosz Kramek in Warsaw immediately after he arrived in Poland from Brussels to attend court hearings in other proceedings. He was transported to Lublin, where he was charged with making false statements and money laundering. The Member of the Foundation’s Board spent the next three weeks in custody; he was released on bail paid by family members, friends and community activists, and on sureties from people of public trust from Poland and abroad. However, on the same day, prosecutor Marcin Kołodziejczyk imposed a ban on him leaving the country. In addition, after the action of overthrowing the entanglements on the border, in which Bartosz Kramek participated, the regional prosecutor in Lublin Jerzy Ziarkiewicz, trusted by General Prosecutor Zbigniew Ziobro, personally imposed police supervision on him. Prosecutor Ziarkiewicz is known for his handling of many politically motivated cases in recent years.
Both decisions were appealed by defence counsels Radosław Baszuk and Tomasz Przeciechowski. As a result of them, on 26 October 2021, the District Court in Lublin revoked all the prosecutor’s decisions on preventive measures. “The court indicated that the suspect’s procedural situation had not changed since the date of the appeal court’s decision in the case, which concerned the application of conditional arrest; no irregularities in the suspect’s behaviour or disruptions to the course of proceedings had been signalled. The court indicated that the suspect appears at the summons of the authority, takes part in the activities, has indicated an address for service in the country” – justified the spokeswoman of the court in Lublin.
During the hearing, it came to light that it was Zbigniew Ziobro himself – the Minister of Justice and Prosecutor General – who personally demanded that Bartosz Kramek be placed under police supervision after the civil disobedience action in Sokółka. “Prosecutor Marcin Kołodziejczyk himself admitted in court that it was Ziobro personally who demanded that the preventive measures be tightened. It was supposed to be done on his order by the ever-serving and zealous Ziarkiewicz, although the actual reason was not at all related to the Lublin investigation against me. My defender commented with a sneer that he must have got his proceedings mixed up. The court of course agreed with him ” – the head of the ODF Council stated.
The media described the case as a clear (and consecutive) failure of the prosecution in its dispute with the Open Dialogue Foundation:
- Wirtualna Polska: The case of a well-known activist of the Open Dialogue Foundation. There is a court decision (26 October 2021)
- NaTemat: Kramek won in court in Lublin. “It was Ziobro himself who wanted to impose supervision on me”. (26 October 2021)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: Failure of the prosecution pursuing Bartosz Kramek. The court revoked restrictions, police supervision and a ban on leaving the country (26 October 2021)
- Dziennik Wschodni: Bartosz Kramek wins again in court in Lublin (26 October 2021)
- President Lech Wałęsa’s appeal to release Bartosz Kramek (14 July 2021)
- A Kafkaesque Farce. ODF’s response to the allegations against B. Kramek (1 July 2021)
- Polish Civil Society Under Assault: Chair of ODF’s Supervisory Board detained on fabricated charges (24 June 2021)
- Law and Justice’s campaign against the Open Dialogue Foundation (18 February 2019)
- Asymetryści.online: A trap. Interview with Bartosz Kramek (25 July 2021)
- Gazeta Wyborcza: Kramek, you’ll never walk alone. Why does the arrest come now? (16 July 2021)
- Monitor Konstytucyjny: Kajetan Wróblewski: “Poor citizens are looking at the jail”* (5 July 2021)