Current Affairs

Poland: Former president will not face hate crime charges for anti-gay comments

Joseph McCormick March 13, 2013
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Prosecutors have confirmed that they will not press charges against the former Polish President for saying that gay MPs should sit “behind a wall” in parliament.

Lech Walesa, Nobel Prize winner and former Polish president also said that gay people “must know they are a minority and adapt themselves to smaller things”, during an interview with the TVN television station last week.

After Ryszard Nowak of the National Committee for the Defence Against Sects and Violence lodged a complaint against Lech Walesa, who made the anti-gay remarks, saying that he “promoted hatred against sexual minorities.”

Renata Klonowska, the head of the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Gdansk, has now confirmed that the department will not pursue the case, reports the News.

“I have watched the speech by Lech Walesa for signs of an offence,” Klonowska said, adding that investigators had studied the Penal Code of Poland, articles 256 and 257 of which protect against discrimination “based on national, ethnic, racial, religious or lack of religious beliefs.”

The prosecutor referred to the fact that both articles 256 and 257 of the Penal Code do not specifically mention hatred against those of a different sexual orientation.

She did, however, go on to say that Nowak could appeal against the decision.

A report released earlier this week contradicted claims by the former Polish president that 95% of Polish people supported his view that gay MPs should sit “behind a wall” in parliament, as just 31% did.

Last Wednesday, Polands first openly gay and trans lawmakers took front bench seats of the Polish parliament to protest against remarks made by a former president.

In the Polish parliament, there is one openly gay MP, Robert Biedron, and one trans MP, Anna Grodzka, both of Palikot’s Liberal Movement,

Walesa’s son, MEP Jaroslaw Walesa, called his father’s comments “harmful” and “typical of the older generation in Poland”.



More: Anna Grodzka, Europe, gay mp, lech walesa, Poland, robert biedron, trans mp

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