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Polish police arrest MPs in presidential palace

Polish police have arrested the former interior minister and deputy interior minister inside the presidential palace in Warsaw in a day of unprecedented political theatre.

Mariusz Kaminski and Maciej Wasik were sentenced to two years' jail last month for abuse of power when they led an anti-corruption office in 2007.

Following the arrests, the new interior minister Marcin Kierwinski wrote on X: "Everyone is equal before the law."

The arrests highlight the political turmoil between the Law and Justice (PiS) party and the new pro-EU coalition.

The men, who were elected PiS MPs in October, refused to recognise last month's court decision because President Andrzej Duda, a PiS ally, pardoned them for the crime in 2015. Mr Duda has also said he does not recognise the court's ruling because he insists his pardon remains valid.

The Polish president said in a televised address on Wednesday that he was deeply shaken by the two men being jailed, and described them as honest.

The two MPs have been stripped of their parliamentary mandates, but both they and President Duda insist they remain legally elected MPs because of the pardon.

On Monday evening, the court issued a warrant to police to detain the men. Despite this, Mr Duda invited both to Warsaw's Presidential Palace on Tuesday morning to attend a ceremony to swear in two of their former colleagues as presidential advisers.

Several hours later, they emerged from the palace to speak briefly to reporters, all the while remaining inside its grounds. Mr Kaminski said they will be "political prisoners" if they are arrested and thanked Mr Duda for his support.

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