Nevertheless, the court disregarded the prosecutor’s request for unconditional detention & granted an option of posting bail in the sum of PLN 300.000 ($79.000), with the deadline of July 8th. If the sum is not delivered in full, Bartosz will remain locked up for 3 months (possibly extended) in drastic conditions with actual criminals. Following a public call for support, numerous activists and benefactors have pledged their help to collect the entire sum and free Bartosz. But this will only be a temporary solution, as the prosecutor’s office will not rest until it destroys Bartosz and the Foundation, which is clearly the goal of this latest attempt. A lengthy legal battle will ensue, with likely arrest warrants being next issued for Bartosz’s wife, Lyudmyla, and possibly other ODF activists.
As ODF, despite its accomplishments and notoriety, is a small NGO (currently employing just 6 people full-time), financed through direct donations and by Bartosz and Lyudmyla themselves via their small IT consulting company — now defunct following the government’s actions — we are running out of funds to both run the NGO, as well as cover the significant legal costs of the battle with the regime. We have now started an international advocacy campaign to raise awareness of the situation and collect high-level support for Bartosz and ODF — as was done in Lyudmyla’s situation in 2018
when she received support from statesmen like Emmanuel Macron or Lech Wałęsa as well as dozens of other decision-makers and prominent public figures. We plan to soon publish an appeal to the European Commission co-signed by numerous Members of the European Parliament and an open appeal to Polish authorities. But all these actions require financing. Without significant financial support for ODF, the Law and Justice Party will be triumphant, effectively quashing the most prominent, critical civil society organization, and producing a chilling effect to suppress dissent in Polish society as a whole. The human factor also cannot be ignored — young civic activists might end up behind bars together with hardened criminals — all this in Poland, a state still part of the EU.
We thus plead for your help in this dramatic situation. You can support ODF directly through donations to bank accounts specified here: https://en.odfoundation.eu/contact/
, or with direct card payments & instant transfers via the Hall of Shame fundraiser here: https://zrzutka.pl/z/ListyHanby
. We thank you in advance for your support, hopefully together we can win and stop the rise of authoritarianism & far-right nationalism in Poland, and next in Europe.
Martin Mycielski, Open Dialogue Foundation