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Debate in the EP on surveillance in EU countries. MEPs criticized Poland

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The European Parliament compared the use of the Pegasus system to the Watergate Affair. Poland is not the only country in the EU that has bought this system. But the only one where someone came up with the idea to eavesdrop on the head of the opposition’s election campaign.

This is yet another debate in the European Parliament in which the word “Poland” is once again cast in a negative light. This time in the context of using Pegasus and spying on the opposition. “The Polish government will stop at nothing to divert attention from the violation of the rule of law in Poland,” said Jeroen Lenaerts, MEP, European People’s Party. “The use of Pegasus was intended to spy on public actors and intimidate them,” added Hannes Heide, MEP, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats.

– Europeans have the right to know to what extent they were spied on, where and by whom – argued Gilles Lebreton, MEP, Identity and Democracy Group.

The debate is the culmination of a year’s work of a special committee in the European Parliament, which investigated who and who was being spied on using systems such as Pegasus. As MEP Katarina Barley argues, “what has come to light is horrific”. In its report, the Commission writes about the EU Watergate, and about Poland, that “the abuses of Pegasus should be seen in the full context of the crisis of the rule of law (…) and that the scope of surveillance in Poland has been significantly expanded in the last few years.”

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The Commission argues that spying systems have been used in many EU countries, but only in two have they been used against the opposition, the public, journalists and lawyers. These are Hungary and Poland. – A Bermuda Triangle has been created in Poland, i.e. a trap between the prosecutor’s office, secret services and public media – assesses Łukasz Kochut, MEP of the New Left.

In Strasbourg, a PiS representative tried to react to accusations against the authorities. – Do not spit on Poland, but be like Poland, learn from Poland – appealed Dominik Tarczyński, PiS MEP. During the work of the special commission, no one from PiS authorities wanted to provide any explanations. – The Polish government was the only one that did not establish any cooperation at all – says Róża Thun, MEP of Poland 2050.

A crushing report on Pegasus surveillance in PolandTVN24

Passivity of the prosecutor’s office

Pegasus is a total surveillance tool designed to fight terrorism. It can not only eavesdrop on conversations, but also listen live to everything that is happening around the phone. It can view photos, documents or falsify the content of messages and send them on behalf of the owner of the phone. – It’s not just the use of Pegasus that’s illegal. Also, the mere purchase of such software is illegal in Poland, argues Mikołaj Małecki, PhD, president of the Krakow Institute of Criminal Law, Jagiellonian University.

Poland bought such a system, which was admitted by Jarosław Kaczyński. Canadian scientists have proven that the unruly prosecutor Ewa Wrzosek, the lawyer Roman Giertych, critical of the government, and the senator Krzysztof Brejza – at the time he was the head of the PO election campaign – were under surveillance. – This para-mafia system, which has great influence at the top of power, will not allow the PiS prosecutor’s office to investigate it – believes Krzysztof Brejza. “The case should be investigated by an independent prosecutor’s office,” he adds.

Neither PiS nor Kukiz, who supported him, agreed to a parliamentary investigative commission. The committee in the Senate listened to experts and people under surveillance and is expected to submit a final report within a few weeks. – Many office holders in the Republic of Poland have committed crimes and we will indicate them in our report – announces Marcin Bosacki from PO, chairman of the Senate Pegasus surveillance committee.

The European Parliament’s report will be finally adopted on Thursday.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/JULIEN WARNAND

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