Top Polish Supreme Court justice defies purge

Małgorzata Gersdorf

The head of Poland’s supreme court, Małgorzata Gersdorf, arrives for work on Wednesday morning. Photograph: Czarek Sokołowski/AP

The head of Poland’s Supreme Court, Małgorzata Gersdorf, showed up for work on Wednesday, refusing to quit in defiance of a controversial law effectively purging 27 of the court’s 72 judges. “My presence here is not about politics, I am here to protect the rule of law,” Gersdorf said, holding a white rose at the court building’s entrance.

Gersdorf and other judges 65 or older are being forced to retire under the new law. The measure took full effect on Tuesday in an ongoing effort by Poland’s ruling right-wing Law and Justice party to exert control over the courts. It has provoked mass protests and escalated tensions between Poland’s government and the European Union over the rule of law.

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