Polish senator sues the party leader for monitoring speech

A Polish opposition senator whose mobile phone was hacked by advanced spyware has filed a civil lawsuit against the leader of the Polish ruling party

Hours after reporting Senator Krzysztof Brejza’s case against Kaczynski on Monday, Polish prosecutors notified Brejza’s father, the mayor, that he was under investigation as a suspect and needed to appear in court for questioning.

Both father and son insisted that they had done nothing wrong and accused the authorities of seeking political retaliation. They also believe that the ruling Law and Justice Party is trying to cast doubt on them in order to justify the use of surveillance software, which is designed to combat terrorism and other serious crimes and combat political opponents.

The revelation of the hacking incident shocked Poland, compared it to the Watergate scandal in the United States in the 1970s, and sparked the appeal of the Parliamentary Investigation Committee.

Brejza called the decision to summon his father as “retaliation against the family” in response to lawsuits and exposing “crimes related to the illegal surveillance of the opposition.” He spoke at a news conference in Parliament on Monday with his wife Dorota Brejza, who is also his lawyer.

Ryszard Brejza, the mayor of the city of Inoroclaw in central Poland, said he received a letter informing him that he must appear in court as a suspect for questioning, but was not informed of the content of the case.

“I think it’s a bit like a character in Kafka’s novel “The Trial.” I don’t know what it has to do. I can only guess,” he told news station TVN24.

According to the analysis of experts from the Citizen Lab, a research institution at the University of Toronto, Krzysztof Brejza was hacked several times in 2019, mainly when he participated in opposition parliamentary campaigns. The findings of the investigation were confirmed by technical experts from Amnesty International.

The Citizen Lab discovered that two other critics of the Polish right-wing authorities were also hacked. All three used the Pegasus spyware of the Israeli National Bureau of Statistics. The other two are the prosecutor Ewa Wrzosek and the lawyer Roman Giertych.

The Associated Press reported these hacks in an exclusive report based on investigations by Citizen Lab and Amnesty International.

Kaczynski admitted on Friday that Poland had purchased Pegasus and described it as a tool that many countries must now fight crime and corruption.

In Brejza’s case, the text messages stolen from his mobile phone were tampered with and broadcast by the Polish state-controlled television station. As part of the campaigning slander campaign, the populist ruling party continued to win by a narrow margin.