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ODF welcomes persecuted Polish judges and prosecutors in Brussels

ODF is proud to have organised a high-level mission to Brussels of the most famous “disobedient” Polish judges & prosecutors – the leading victims of the systemic persecution & defamation of the independent judiciary in the country: judges Waldemar Żurek & Dariusz Mazur and prosecutors Krzysztof Parchimowicz & Ewa Wrzosek.

The brim-packed agenda started with meetings with Members of the European Parliament, including LIBE (Civil Liberties, Justice & Home Affairs Committee) Vice-Chair Maite Pagazaurtundua, followed by quick catch-ups with Petra De Sutter, Janusz Lewandowski and others.

The main event of the day was “Law and Justice’s Campaign against the Polish Judiciary” – a European Parliament lunch debate co-organised with Renew Europe, hosted by some of Poland’s best friends in the EP, Sophie in ‘t Veld & – as we’ve learned – Michal Šimečka, with crucial input from the uncompromising Róża Thun & our Lyudmyla Kozlovska.

We’re proud to say the room was packed as hardly ever seen at this type of events and media coverage was quite significant – from some 10 reports across state TV, through a thorough material in private Polsat, to a dozen publications across web portals (from independent like Gazeta Wyborcza & Dziennik to pro-government).

Watch the whole event HERE

Directly following the debate we had a very pleasant discussion with the always-supportive Human Rights Watch.

Then two high-level meetings, which one could expect to rather be a courtesy, but which turned out to be highly productive, with concrete next steps agreed upon: with European Commission Vice-President Věra Jourová & Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders. Among our main appeals to them was requesting interim measures from the ECJ regarding the repression faced by judges – something that we’re glad to say the Commission has just said would happen! As could be predicted though, soon after our meeting the right-wing and state media – including the main state TV news Wiadomości – accused the EC Vice-President, who had issued a letter in defence of the judiciary, of “seeking anarchy”, since she had met with “well-known radicals” from ODF.

Last but not least, to end the day we had an – unfortunately rushed – open meeting for experts, officials & friends, kindly hosted by the Amnesty International European Institutions Office.

Suffice to say we were met with a heart-warming, unexpected wave of support from the EU for some of the last-standing heroes of the independent judiciary in Poland. The prevailing message: “stay strong, we have your back!”