WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A prominent Polish lawyer who has represented leading political opposition figures and was treated as a suspect in a politically sensitive case was cleared by a court on Friday.
Roman Giertych was targeted by Pegasus spyware in 2019 when he represented Donald Tusk, a former Polish prime minister and former president of the European Council who today leads Poland’s main opposition party, Civic Platform. Giertych also represented other leading opposition politicians.
In 2020, Giertych was detained by Polish authorities and his home was searched in a manner which a Polish court later considered to be unlawful and unjustified.
Prosecutors ordered his arrest, accusing him of laundering enormous sums of money from a publicly traded company, Polnord.
Giertych vehemently denies the claims, and accuses Poland’s ruling authorities of trying to ruin him politically.
The District Court in Lublin announced Friday that it was dismissing the prosecutor’s request for his arrest, upholding the decision of a lower court. The decision is final.
The court argued there were no grounds for his arrest, and said the prosecutor had failed to show evidence backing up its claims that Giertych was guilty of the alleged crimes.
Giertych welcomed the decision, saying he viewed it as an example of rule of law and independent judges “resisting populist assaults.”
According to reports in Polish media, prosecutors plan to keep investigating Giertych and view the judge who ruled in his case as biased against the country’s conservative ruling party, Law and Justice.
From 2006-2007, Giertych was a deputy prime minister and education minister in a conservative government led by Law and Justice. At the time he was the leader of a far-right party, the League of Polish Families, but has since allied himself politically with Tusk and other centrist politicians.