Poland's right-wing leader questioned over Pegasus spyware

Poland's right-wing leader questioned over Pegasus spyware

The chairman of Poland’s main populist party Jaroslaw Kaczynski appeared before a parliamentary commission on Friday over the alleged use of the Israeli spyware Pegasus while it led the country’s previous government.

The Law and Justice (PiS) party, which ruled from 2015 to 2023, is suspected of having spied on opposition politicians and magistrates critical of its administration.

Mr. Kaczynski, who also served as Poland’s Prime Minister, acknowledged in 2022 that his country had bought the spyware but denied that it had been used against critics.

Ahead of Friday’s inquiry, the head of the commission, Magdalena Sroka, said Mr. Kaczynski was picked first to testify because of his “responsibility for the actions of the Law and Justice Party, which was in power until 2023”.

Ms. Sroka added that the purchase and operation of Pegasus had “no basis” in law.

The parliamentary committee will examine the objectives and legality of the use of Pegasus and try to establish how it and other similar systems were acquired by Poland.

‘Long list’

According to several sources within the new governing coalition, led by pro-EU Prime Minister Donald Tusk, the undisclosed list of individuals to be questioned could be “very long” and “shocking”.

Citizen Lab, a Canada-based cybersecurity monitoring group, claimed that Pegasus was used against several people in Poland.

One notable target, they say, was Krzysztof Brejza, currently a member of the European parliament but previously a coordinator of the electoral campaign of an opposition party, Civic Platform, during 2019 legislative elections.

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