POSTS BY John Morijn

Repression of Freedom of Expression in Poland: Renewing support for Wojciech Sadurski

In pre-COVID19 times we drew attention (here and here) to the fact that our colleague, Professor Wojciech Sadurski, faces multiple civil and criminal cases in Poland resulting from his tweets which were critical of the ruling party. The cases were brought against him by the current government and its associates. Unfortunately, COVID19 has evidently not changed their priorities

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Domestic Courts Pushing for a Workable Test to Protect the Rule of Law in the EU

On 17 February 2020, the Oberlandesgericht Karlsruhe passed a decision in a surrender case that we expect to shape the future of the LM-test. Its decision can be seen not only as a result of Luxembourg’s unworkable LM test but also as an acknowledgement of the effect of Poland’s muzzle law on the independence of its judiciary. Shortly after, Rechtbank Amsterdam engaged with this decision, thus making it more likely that the CJEU will have to move forward and develop its test into a more meaningful one.

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Luxembourg’s Unworkable Test to Protect the Rule of Law in the EU

A key rule of law case illustrating the conversation taking place between national judges and the Court of Justice about the how-to of rule of law protection is the CJEU’s LM ruling dealing with the implementation of the European Arrest Warrant. In it the CJEU developed a test to balance mutual trust and individual rights, particularly the right to a fair trial. The Rechtbank Amsterdam and the Karlsruhe Oberlandesgericht applied Luxembourg’s LM test with respect to Polish suspects in a series of recent (interlocutory) rulings. This national case-law is interesting both for its immediate outcome (suspension of surrenders) and its implicit message to Luxembourg: “Sorry, we tried, but your test is unworkable.”

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A Trial that Wasn’t, an Impact that Was

The handling of the Sadurski cases offers a pars pro toto picture of the dynamics, twists and (sub)plots in a slide to authoritarianism under our very eyes. It speaks for many other similar cases that do not benefit from equally intense coverage. It shows that what is at play in these politically motivated trials is a mixture of obfuscation, an attempt at a long-game strategy facilitated by unlimited resources (paid by the Polish taxpayer) and an expectation that international (scholarly and other) attention spans will break – and support will dwindle accordingly.

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Supporting Wojciech Sadurski in a Warsaw Courtroom

Last week one of us, together with Gráinne de Burca, again put the spotlight on PiS and allies suing Wojciech Sadurski over some highly critical tweets. It led to a tremendous show of support. This support makes it a statement of the obvious that Sadurski’s trial is a blemish on the EU and every Member States that both so frequently pledge to take the rule of law seriously. And yet. His (first) trial took place yesterday, Wednesday 27 November, at the Warsaw district court. Here is an account of what we both witnessed, live and through live footage respectively.

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Stand with Wojciech Sadurski: his freedom of expression is (y)ours

Just days before the trial against Wojciech Sadurski in Warsaw, we write to seek renewal of your support, and for your help in keeping the PiS strategy of coordinated legal harassment against him, and the threat of a criminal conviction and an award of damages against him as well as hefty legal fees, in the public eye. The party believes that it can ride out the storm, and that by ignoring the protests they will eventually disappear. But they will not.

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