Police seize journalist's laptop over alleged threats

Police in the western city of Zielona Gora on Saturday entered the flat of a journalist with leading Polish newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza and seized his employer's computer over an alleged threat to a politician.

The Warsaw police spokesman, Sylwester Marczak, said the police had found out about threats issued against two Polish politicians from different political parties, including one sent from the journalist's IP address.

"Our findings indicated a concrete IP and physical address," Marczak said. "This is the reason for our action.

"While entering the apartment, we had no knowledge that we'd be dealing with a journalist," the spokesman said.

On Saturday, Gazeta Wyborcza wrote that the journalist, Piotr Bakselerowicz, had been ordered to hand over his work laptop, "which contains material protected by journalistic confidentiality law.

"The officers also seized the journalist's (other) laptops and his phone," the daily added.

"The pretext for the seizure of his work equipment was an email with threats against Jerzy Materna, a PiS (ruling party Law and Justice - PAP) MP from Zielona Gora," Gazeta Wyborcza wrote.

Marczak told PAP that police officers follow a single procedure when dealing with threats.

"It doesn't matter to us if someone is from the right or left side of the political scene, or whether they are in the middle," he said.

He also said that under current regulations, police can conduct a search and seize items without a warrant. "This activity only requires a (later) endorsement," Marczak said.

"It is more important to act quickly, because a delay can have a significant impact on securing evidence or arresting the perpetrator," he added.

In a statement published on his newspaper's website, Bakselerowicz strongly denied having sent any threats to anyone.