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Warsaw. Detention of priest Michał O. The Ombudsman wants explanations from the heads of the ABW and KSP

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Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights Wojciech Brzozowski asked the head of the Internal Security Agency and the commander of the Warsaw police to explain whether there was no improper treatment of priest Michał O. during his detention. O. is facing charges in the investigation into irregularities in the Justice Fund.

As stated in the press release, media reports (the case was covered by, among others, the right-wing weekly “Sieci” – ed.) indicate that within two days immediately after his arrest, Fr. Michał O. was taken to Warsaw, where he participated in intensive procedural activities, lasting several hours a day, and stayed in one of Warsaw's rooms for detainees.

Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights Wojciech Brzozowski, in a letter to the Commander of the Warsaw Police, Inspector Dariusz Walichnowski, drew attention to the allegations concerning the treatment of the detainee.

Handcuffs while using the toilet?

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According to media reports, after being placed in a police cell, Father Michał O. was not instructed about his rights, nor did he have access to the regulations of his stay. Allegations in the media also indicate that during his stay, the detainee was not given a single meal, and water was given only once, using a previously used plastic bottle.

The detainee was also allegedly deprived of access to sanitary facilities for a long period of time, and was given only two dirty blankets to sleep on, without a mattress or pillow. The search was also allegedly carried out in violation of the regulations.

“The rights of the detained person were also allegedly violated by ABW officers. The Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights indicates in a letter to the head of the Agency, Rafał Syryska, that according to the accusations, throughout the entire period of procedural activities conducted by its officers, Fr. Michał O. remained in handcuffs, including while using the toilet,” the press release reads.

Read also: Father Michał O. and the “letter from arrest”. The Prime Minister comments >>>

It was noted that violations were also supposed to have occurred during the transport of the detainee to Warsaw from the place of detention, during a stop at a petrol station. The detained priest Michał O. was supposed to have used the toilet in handcuffs, with the door open and in the presence of officers. Then the officers took him to the shopping hall of the station, where they stayed with him for several minutes in the presence of numerous bystanders, not reacting to them taking pictures of the convoy.

“The circumstances of the case may indicate a violation of the detainee's rights, including his right to privacy, and a violation of his personal security,” it was reported.

In connection with this, the Deputy Commissioner for Human Rights requested the commander of the Warsaw Police and the head of the ABW to investigate the circumstances of the case and to inform the Commissioner for Human Rights about their findings and positions taken. Brzozowski also asked the police commander to provide documentation related to the stay of the detained person in the cell and monitoring recordings, if they had been secured.


Financial irregularities in the foundation?

Father Michał O. is the president of the Profeto Foundation, which was a beneficiary of funds from the Justice Fund. At the end of March, he heard the charges, which – as reported by the National Prosecutor's Office at the time – concerned the fact that suspicious persons (apart from the priest, these include officials from the Ministry of Justice, who were responsible for the fund) acting together and in agreement, led to the granting of financial support to the foundation, despite the fact that the foundation did not meet the formal and substantive conditions for obtaining a subsidy.

At the beginning of June the prosecutor presented the priest with new charges concerning the crime of money laundering. According to the prosecutor's office, in the years 2020-2021 he carried out activities aimed at preventing the determination of the criminal origin of funds obtained under the contract concluded by the Profeto Foundation with the Justice Fund for the construction of the Archipelag center in Wilanów. The priest allegedly did this in agreement with Piotr W., president of TISO sp. z o. o., who was then the main contractor of this center.

Main image source: Jacek Marczewski / Wyborcza.pl Agency

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