Polish opposition lawmaker’s phone was hacked while party was in power, paper reports

By Thomson Reuters Apr 26, 2024 | 1:13 PM

WARSAW (Reuters) – A lawmaker from Poland’s former ruling party is among 31 people prosecutors have summoned because they were victims of phone hacking while the party was in power, Gazeta Wyborcza daily reported on Friday.

A Polish parliamentary commission has been investigating accusations the Law and Justice (PiS) party illegally hacked the phones of targets including political opponents.

Initial reports of Pegasus spyware misuse focused on political opponents of the former Law and Justice (PiS) government. However, reports that PiS’s own members were affected during its eight years in office, which ended in December, could further strain an opposition racked by infighting over its record in government.

Gazeta Wyborcza quoted Przemyslaw Nowak, spokesperson for the National Prosecutor’s Office, as saying that Marek Suski, a senior PiS member close to party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski, was among the 31 people summoned.

Nowak could not immediately be reached for comment outside office hours. Suski did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The PiS press office was unavailable to comment.

Poland’s new pro-European coalition government has prioritised uncovering the truth about what it says was misuse of Pegasus spyware, saying they are holding to account those linked to PiS that it accuses of wrongdoing.

Justice Minister Adam Bodnar has said 578 people were targeted with Pegasus in Poland and that all cases will be analysed to see if the use of the spyware developed by Israel-based NSO Group was justified.

According to recent media reports, the range of people subject to phone surveillance under PiS went well beyond their political opponents, including its own lawmakers and even members of the armed forces.

News website Onet reported this month that among those to receive summoning letters were two female soldiers, Karolina Marchlewska and Joanna Jalocha, who had reported sexual harassment by their superiors in the military police.

Onet also reported that retired general Waldemar Skrzypczak had been summoned as a witness by prosecutors concerning Pegasus.

Reuters was unable to contact Marchlewska and Jalocha. Skrzypczak told Reuters by telephone that he had received a letter from prosecutors but that it did not specify that he was being summoned as a witness in relation to the Pegasus probe.

(Reporting by Alan Charlish; Editing by Josie Kao)