Insult-to-Religion Prosecution in Poland

From Gazeta Prawna, with many thanks to my father Vladimir and brother Sasha for the translation from Polish:

The Gdynia district prosecutor’s office has accused Adam Darski, the leader of the death metal band Behemoth, of defamation of religious sensibilities….

The decision to accuse the musician was announced … Monday by Gdynia District Prosecutor’s Office head Marzanna Majstrowicz…. [Darski] is threatened with two years’ imprisonment….

The case concerns a concert in September 2007 in the club “The Ear” in Gdynia, during which Darski tore up the Bible and scattered its fragments among the audience. Then the [fragments] were to be burned by fans of the band. The singer of Behemoth also [said] that the Catholic Church is “a criminal sect.” …

The first proceedings in this case were officially initiated in February 2008 based on reports about the Behemoth concert to the media by Ryszard Nowak, President of the National Committee of Defense Against Sects. Then Adam Darski, questioned as a witness, told investigators that tearing the Bible was part of his artistic work. The Behemoth leader also explained that his goal was not to offend anyone’s religious sensibilities…. [T]he investigation [did not lead to a prosecution] because Nowak was the only one who considered himself “injured” in this case (Polish law requires at least two people in such a situation).

Investigators from Gdynia again took up events at a Behemoth concert in January of this year, after the prosecution filed an application in this case [from] four Pomeranian PiS (Law and Justice Party) representatives…. During the hearings, which took place in February of this year, all of the representatives unanimously declared that they watched a film of the concert and the behavior of the Behemoth leader offended their religious sensibilities.

In the ongoing case the prosecutor is also investigating another [matter] connected with the Behemoth leader … on the report of Ryszard Nowak, related to a work of Adam Darski’s named “Praise to the killers of St. Adalbert” [in Polish St. Wojciech]. Nowak accuses the musician of “publicly praising the killing of St. Adalbert (the patron saint of Poland).”

Thanks to Conrad W. Deitrick for the pointer to the Polish article, and to an English-language story on the subject.

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