Polish man cleared of espionage charges, released from Congolese prison following diplomatic efforts

Congolese authorities have released a Polish man who was sentenced to life in prison on espionage charges, Poland’s top diplomat said Tuesday.

Mariusz Majewski is back in Europe, Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said on X. Sikorski posted a brief video of himself apparently talking to Majewski over the phone to welcome him back. He didn’t say where exactly Majewski was.

The 52-year-old Majewski was detained in Congo in February and later faced a military court in the Central African nation, accused of spying. Last week, he received a life sentence in prison. No details were released as to where he was held.

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The allegations against him said that he had “approached the front line with Mobondo militiamen,” moved along the front line without authorization and “took photos of sensitive and strategic places and secretly observed military activities.”

The Mobondo is a militia group that has been involved in intercommunal violence in southwestern Congo since 2022.

Poland’s Foreign Ministry says that Majewski was innocent. President Andrzej Duda spoke on the phone last week with Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi seeking to obtain Majewski’s release.

Poland doesn’t have a diplomatic mission in Congo.

Last week, Polish Foreign Ministry spokesman Paweł Wroński said without elaborating that Majewski “is not a spy, he is a member of a travelers club” and was just following his “passion in life.” Wroński said his “behavior was the result of a lack of knowledge of local customs.”

Earlier this month, the Congolese army said it had foiled a coup attempt and arrested the perpetrators, including some foreigners. Several U.S. citizens are among those arrested.

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