Europe / Politics

Human rights body to examine new Polish police law

Poland Politics

A man holds a banner showing former Polish President Lech Walesa as he takes part in a march demanding the government to respect the country’s constitution in front of the Constitutional Court, in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday, March 12, 2016. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A human rights body that rebuked Poland last week over moves that hobble the Constitutional Tribunal plans to investigate a new police surveillance law passed by the country’s conservative ruling party.

The Venice Commission, an advisory body with the Council of Europe, will study the surveillance law passed in December and issue its opinion during a June 10-11 session, said Panos Kakaviatos, a spokesman for the group.

That law expands the government’s access to Internet data and gives police and the secret services greater spying powers. It is one of several new laws that have alarmed domestic critics and the European Union.

Last week, the Venice Commission, a body made up of legal experts, said that new laws regulating the constitutional court undermine democracy, human rights and the rule of law. That opinion came after a review that was requested by the Polish government, which seems to have been taken aback by the critical opinion.

The new review, instead, comes at the request of the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe.

Over the past three months, there have been frequent street protests in Poland against the ruling Law and Justice party, which moved quickly to centralize its power after taking office last November.


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