Polish President Andrzej Duda on Wednesday expressed “shock” following the arrests of a former interior minister and his aide in a high-profile case that has highlighted post-election judicial chaos.
The arrests took place late Tuesday in the presidential palace where Duda ally Mariusz Kaminski and his aide Maciej Wasik had spent several hours following an invitation from the president.
Kaminski and Wasik were elected lawmakers during the October election that saw their conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party lose power to a pro-EU coalition.
Kaminski, who considers himself a “political prisoner”, said he would undertake a hunger strike to protest his detention.
“I see my conviction for fighting corruption and the unlawful action to deprive me of my parliamentary mandate as an act of political revenge,” he said in a statement sent to the justice ministry.
The pair were taken into custody after an appeals court sentenced them to two years in prison for overstepping their authority in a case dating back to 2007.
Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, Duda called for calm in the country but expressed support for both men, adding that he was “deeply shocked” by the developments.
“I will not rest until Mariusz Kaminski and his associates are free,” Duda said.
Both men have denied the charges and evoked a pardon that Duda granted them in 2015. That pardon, however, was later annulled by Poland’s Supreme Court.
The president of the lower house of parliament said their mandates had been annulled after the sentencing.
As police arrived at their houses on Tuesday, the two men appeared by Duda’s side during a ceremony at the presidential palace.