30 thousand Polish zloty of compensatory damages and an apology to the Open Dialogue Foundation and to its founders – such is the verdict that has been passed in the case of Joachim Brudziński who launched an attack on the Foundation back in 2019. Brudziński, who at that time was the Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration, tweeted an innuendo that the Foundation was involved in money laundering.
The judgment in the case of Joachim Brudziński and the Open Dialogue Foundation has been covered by Onet. According to the court ruling, Joachim Brudziński (the Law and Justice (PiS) election chief of staff) is to pay a compensatory damages of PLN 30 000 and apologise to the Open Dialogue Foundation and its founders, Lyudmyla Kozlovska and Bartosz Kramek, for his Twitter post of 2019. Brudziński, the then Minister of Internal Affairs and Administration, suggested that the Foundation was involved in money laundering. The judgment is not yet final.
The court ruled on the case of Joachim Brudziński and his attack on the Open Dialogue Foundation
The Onet web portal recalls the tweet that Brudziński wrote during the previous campaign before the parliamentary elections in 2019: “Hi, defenders of the “Euro-Kazakh” crooks famous for “shutting down the government”. Do you know you are useful idiots? Do you realise that December’s “miraculous resurrection” of Mr. D. and the Rossmann candles were funded with laundered money? I don’t think that Lusia and her tolerant husband are likely to get the Nobel Prize”.This was a reference to a report prepared in 2018 by an investigative commission of the then Moldovan parliament. Four years earlier the country was ruled by oligarchs who accused the Foundation of illegally funding the opposition in Moldova. [The Open Dialogue Foundation is an international organisation and its aim is “to protect human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the post-Soviet territories and in the European Union”, Editor’s note].
The court has found that Brudziński’s post had clearly violated personal rights of the founders Lyudmyla Kozlovska and Bartosz Kramek and their Foundation. Brudziński’s tweet has been found to be “clearly offensive” by the court. In the statement of reasons for the judgment the court indicated that the organisation could have suffered dire consequences, i.e., loss of trust both in Poland and in an international arena. Brudziński’s attorney argued that his client’s tweet was “so vague and incomprehensible that there is no reason to punish him for the tweet”, Onet quotes. The court did not share this argument. Bartosz Kramek told the web portal that the court’s decision “illustrates Joachim Brudziński’s moral qualifications as the chief of staff of the Law and Justice (PiS) party and is a reflection of what the party’s cadres represent”. Bartosz Kramek added that the Foundation was not surprised by this judgment, and that this was the fifth litigation that the Foundation has won against representatives of the Law and Justice Party or the public TV (TVP).
Problems of the Open Dialogue Foundations. The head of the Foundation has been entered into SIS and deported
Let us recap that the problems of the Open Dialogue Foundation began back in 2017. At that time Bartosz Kramek, the husband of Lyudmyla Kozlovska, published a Facebook post criticising the Law and Justice government. In the same month that Kramek’s post was published, acting at the request of Mariusz Kamiński, Witold Waszczykowski (the then head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs) requisitioned an audit of the Foundation. The audit was conducted by the Customs and Fiscal Office in Łódź (notwithstanding that the ODF is registered in Warsaw), the place of work of the former Foreign Minister’s brother, Tomasz Waszczykowski.
In August 2018, the President of the Open Dialogue Foundation, Lyudmyla Kozlovska, was banned from entering Poland and ordered to exit the European Union. The Office for Foreigners entered Kozlovska into the Schengen Information System (SIS) with the highest alert, while the Internal Security Agency reported that it had serious doubts as to the financing of the Foundation she chaired. Lyudmyla Kozlovska was deported to Kyiv, but was granted a short-term visa to Germany and took part in the debate on “Human Rights in Danger – Dismantling the Rule of Law in Poland and Hungary”. In March of 2019, the President of the Open Dialogue Foundation was granted residency in Belgium. In April, the Supreme Administrative Court in Warsaw (WSA) challenged the decision on entering Lyudmyla Kozlovska into the SIS and putting her on the national list of personae non-gratae, and Poland had to remove this entry in June. Also in this case, the Supreme Administrative Court in Warsaw pointed to the poor quality of the evidence provided by Poland’s National
Security Agency (ABW).