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Activist detained by police in Poland over LGBT Virgin Mary images

Patrick Kelleher May 7, 2019
Activist detained by police in Poland over LGBT Virgin Mary images

Image of the LGBT+ Virgin Mary circulated by Elżbieta Podleśna (Amnesty International)

A Polish activist had her home raided and was questioned by police after she circulated an image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus that showed them with rainbow halos.

Elżbieta Podlesna said she was questioned by police in Poland for several hours yesterday (May 6) on suspicion of “offending religious beliefs,” according to Amnesty International.

Police found copies of the altered image—which was based on the Mother of God of Czestochowa painting—in her apartment during the raid. She had put the image up in public places in the city of Plock near St. Dominik’s church, according to TIME.

Elżbieta Podlesna had just returned to Poland after an international trip with Amnesty International

Amnesty has confirmed that police raided her house at 6am yesterday and confiscated her laptop, mobile phone and memory cards. They also requested access to CCTV footage from the building in which she lives.

Poland’s Interior Minister Joachim Brudzinski praised police for their “efficient action” in identifying Podlesna.

“Given the lack of evidence of a crime here, we can only see that Elżbieta has been detained for her peaceful activism.”

– Barbora Cernusakova, Amnesty International’s Regional Europe Researcher

He said “no whim of freedom” gave anybody the right to “offend the feelings of believers” on Twitter yesterday (May 6).

Podlesna had just returned to Poland after completing an advocacy tour with Amnesty International in Belgium and the Netherlands where they raised concerns about Polish laws.

She was detained ‘for her peaceful activism’

“We are extremely concerned to hear that Elżbieta Podlesna, a Polish human rights activist, was arrested and detained for several hours on spurious charges yesterday upon her return to Poland from a trip to Belgium and the Netherlands with Amnesty International,” Amnesty International’s Regional Europe Researcher Barbora Cernusakova said in a statement.

“Given the lack of evidence of a crime here, we can only see that Elżbieta has been detained for her peaceful activism,” she continued.

Activist detained by police in Poland over LGBT Virgin Mary images
Elżbieta Podlesna (courtesy of Amnesty International)

“Amnesty International calls on the Polish authorities to stop harassing peaceful protesters and activists in Poland, including by arbitrarily arresting people who stand up for their rights. Restricting activists from freely expressing their views in the country is unlawful and must stop immediately.”

A number of human rights groups have protested her arrest in Poland

A number of human rights groups and critics of Poland’s government protested against Podlesna’s detainment by police today in Krakow.

People stood outside St Mary’s Basilica in the city holding up posters that said “Free Ela” over her altered image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus with rainbow halos.

More: arrested, detained, Elżbieta Podlesna, Europe, lgbt activist, lgbt virgin mary, Poland, Poland, rainbow halo

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