Judge Stripped of Immunity in High-Profile Espionage Scandal

Written by Camilla Jessen

May.10 - 2024 11:14 AM CET

Photo: Tomasz Szmydt on X
Photo: Tomasz Szmydt on X
A Polish judge at the heart of a spy scandal has lost his immunity.

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In a recent turn of events within Polish legal and political spheres, Judge Tomasz Szmydt, known for his affiliations with the former ruling right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party, has been stripped of his legal immunity.

This decision, made by a disciplinary court on Thursday, May 9, clears the path for potential espionage charges to be brought against him, as reported by Euractive.

Szmydt, who had access to classified information, fled to Belarus earlier this week—a country with which Poland has strained relations, exacerbated by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

The announcement of Szmydt's arrival in Belarus coincided with escalating tensions between the two countries.

Evidence of Espionage and Hybrid Warfare

The removal of Szmydt’s immunity follows an inquiry by prosecutors into allegations of espionage, with Prime Minister Donald Tusk denouncing the judge’s actions as indicative of "high treason."

Anna Adamiak, a spokeswoman for the prosecutor general, affirmed that the disciplinary court's decision subjects Szmydt to criminal liability.

According to Adamiak, evidence "clearly shows that Tomasz Szmydt participated in hybrid warfare conducted by Belarus and Russia against Poland.”

She added, "His actions were aimed at undermining Poland’s standing in the international community, its foreign policy, and at provoking internal tensions.”

International Ramifications

Justice Minister Adam Bodnar stated that stripping Szmydt of immunity would facilitate the issuance of an arrest warrant and an Interpol notice. However, he acknowledged the limitations Polish authorities face in detaining Szmydt while he remains in Belarus.

Throughout his judicial career, Szmydt ruled on cases involving security certificates for sensitive classified information pertaining to NATO, the European Union, and the European Space Agency.

His previous roles include positions at the justice ministry and the trade and companies registry.

Szmydt also appeared on a program hosted by Vladimir Soloviov, whom the US State Department describes as "the most energetic pro-Kremlin propagandist."

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