‘Honor and glory to the heroes’ – Former Polish PiS ministers released from prison following second presidential pardon

On Tuesday evening, former Polish ministers Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik were released from prison after President Andrzej Duda granted them a pardon, sparking significant public and political reactions

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: wprost.pl
Mariusz Kamiński (L) and Maciej Wąsik with their wives after release from prison. (Source: X@pisorgpl)

Former ministers in Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) government, Mariusz Kamiński and Maciej Wąsik, were released from prison on Tuesday evening following a second pardon from President Andrzej Duda. Kamiński left the prison in Radom amid public demonstrations and declared he was “ready to continue the fight.” He was greeted by chants of “honor and glory to the heroes” and “we are with you” from the gathered crowd.

Addressing the crowd, Kamiński expressed gratitude to his wife and son and vowed to continue his political efforts. Similarly, Wąsik, released from a penal institution in Przytuły Stare, thanked his wife for her strength and reflected on the support he received during his incarceration.

A Warsaw court in December of last year sentenced Kamiński and Wąsik to two years imprisonment and barred them from holding public office. This was confirmation of a conviction secured in 2015 for alleged abuse of power in instigating a sting against government officials when working for anti-corruption authorities in 2006-2007.

President Duda pardoned the two in 2015 even though they had appealed their prison sentences. However, one of the chambers of the Supreme Court ruled that the president’s pardon was invalid since the whole legal process had not been completed and the cases should return to the Court of Appeal. 

Following the December court ruling, Kamiński and Wąsik were arrested on Jan. 10 at the presidential palace in Warsaw and subsequently imprisoned. Conservatives in Poland have described them as the country’s first political prisoners since the fall of communism.

The president decided on Tuesday to issue a new decree regarding the right of pardon for politicians of the Law and Justice party in a different manner, after consulting the opinion of the minister of justice.

“The president – this time correctly – used the right of pardon for criminals. That’s all,” Prime Minister Donald Tusk sarcastically commented on the decision of the head of state.

The procedure for their release began on Tuesday evening after the presidential office’s documents reached the prison authorities. Supporters, including PiS politicians, gathered outside the penal institutions in Przytuły Stare and Radom, awaiting the release of Wąsik and Kamiński.

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