The European Commission (EC) has expressed concern over media reports of an alleged campaign to discredit judges critical of Poland's judicial reforms, which led to the resignation of a deputy justice minister.
Poland’s private Onet.pl news website reported on Monday that Deputy Justice Minister Łukasz Piebiak had been maintaining contact via social media with a woman known as Emilia anonymously disseminating defamatory materials against selected judges, allegedly with Mr Piebiak's support. Among the targeted judges was the head of the “Iustitia” judges' association, Professor Krystian Markiewicz.
The reports brought about Mr Piebiak’s resignation.
The EC's press service said that the news triggered its concern. Moreover, the EC said that it would not comment on the affair, nonetheless, it would follow developments carefully.
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The Polish Press Agency’s (PAP) sources within the EC reported that, in principle, the Commission does not get involved in internal matters, but given that the affair concerns Poland's EC-contested judicial reforms, which are the subject of sanctioning Article 7 procedures against Poland, this issue may be an exception.
Onet’s article about Mr Piebiak was not an isolated case. Over subsequent days, Onet published further articles in which it claimed having received materials intended to compromise judges opposed to the government's reforms.