On Wednesday morning, April 25, former construction minister Barbara Blida died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound while her home was being searched by agents of the Internal Security Agency (ABW).

Blida was suspected of receiving bribes from the coal sector.  The ex-minister was under investigation, although no formal charges had been brought against her.
The chief of the ABW, who coordinated the operation against the former minister, and five other agency officers were dismissed.

Barbara Blida was a prominent politician, lawmaker for the post-communist Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) from 1989-2005 and construction minister from 1993-1996. Her death shocked the nation.

According to a statement by Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the search was undertaken as part of a long-running investigation.

The PM promised a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding Bilda?s death. He said that it is essential to find out whether ABW officers committed any wrongful actions while searching her home in Siemianowice Slaskie.

The 57 year-old Blida asked agents for permission to use the toilet. The officers agreed. A female agent accompanied her to the bathroom, where Bilda shot herself in the chest.

The media is speculating whether the ABW has revealed the full details of what happened in Blida?s house.

At 06:00, three civilian agents (two men and one woman) were let into the house by the ex-minister?s husband, according to a detailed report by Gazeta Wyborcza. During the search, Blida went to the bathroom. There, after brushing her teeth, she took a gun and shot herself once.

Attempts to resuscitate Blida took about one hour, but were unsuccessful. Doctors noted that there was no evidence of any fight or force. According to information of Polish Press Agency, gunpowder residue was found on the hand of the deceased.
?It?s hard to believe that Barbara is dead,? her brother-in-law told a reporter of Gazeta Wyborcza. ?There were no signs of any problems or depression.?
According to Special Services Coordinator Zbigniew Wasserman, her death was a suicide, but the exact reasons are unclear.

Last Monday, nearly 2,000 people attended Blida?s funeral.
The media and the public are raising some questions. For instance, why didn?t police officers follow standard procedure for detainees and handcuff Blida? Were the agents conducting a proper search, even though they knew she could have a gun? How did she manage to take a loaded gun to the bathroom, while having her flat searched? Why did Barbara Blida prefer to commit suicide if there were no formal charges as the agency?s spokeswoman states?

Yesterday Rzeczpospolita reported that ex-minister?s husband said that she had planned to kill herself. Piotrowki, the Bilda?s family attorney, did not confirm this information.
According to the PM?s official statement it will not deter the Polish government?s fight with corruption.
?This is a tragic event, but it cannot mean that groups connected with business or political parties will be exempt from the law,?? said Kaczynski.
(http://www.womenonwaves.org)

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