Polish justice minister resigns after jail suicide

Robert Pazik was one of three men sentenced to life imprisonment for kidnapping the son of a wealthy businessman in 2001 and murdering him in 2003.

Polish justice minister resigns after jail suicide
Poland's justice minister resigned on Tuesday after a third convict involved in a murky abduction and murder case dating back eight years hung himself in his prison cell.

Robert Pazik was one of three men sentenced to life imprisonment for kidnapping the son of a wealthy businessman in 2001 and murdering him in 2003.

The other two kidnappers committed suicide in the same way while in custody, in 2006 and 2008, drawing accusations of gross incompetence by Poland's law enforcement authorities.

"I put myself at the disposal of the prime minister (Donald Tusk) and he accepted my resignation," Justice Minister Zbigniew Cwiakalski told Polish television.

Cwiakalski said he had personally done nothing wrong, stressing there had been fewer cases of suicides in jail last year than in 2007.

"But in this situation I considered it appropriate (to step down)," said Cwiakalski, the first minister to resign since Tusk's centre-right government took power in November 2007.

The murder of 27-year-old Krzysztow Olewnik shook Poland in 2003, not least because his family had paid a ransom of 300,000 euros to his abductors to secure his release.

The trial of his abductors revealed that police had allowed the men to escape with the money, triggering claims of collusion between the police and the criminals. Some Polish media at the time suggested the possible involvement of local politicians.

Three police officers were later found guilty of negligence in the case. A prosecutor still faces charges over his handling of the case, Polish media said.

The Olewnik family was due to meet Tusk later on Tuesday.


Reuters
Last Mod: 20 Ocak 2009, 15:07
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