A final verdict has been passed in the case of a man accused of a racist attack on an Algerian. The incident took place on a street in Choroszcz (Podlaskie Voivodeship). According to the arrangements, the foreigner was insulted due to his origin and skin complexion, after which the attacker hit him. Knowing that the Algerian runs a kebab shop, he allegedly demanded that he “give him something to eat.”
The incident took place in July last year. According to the indictment, the attack had national and racial overtones.
According to the arrangements, the Algerian was insulted with offensive words due to his origin and skin complexion, after which the attacker hit him with a fist in which he had a bunch of keys clenched. One of them was protruding and probably caused the injury to the eyebrow arch.
When he heard to “give him something to eat”, he said the place was still closed
The prosecutor’s office stated that the Algerian running a kebab shop in Choroszcz was walking down the street when he was accosted by the later attacker. In unrefined words, he allegedly demanded that the foreigner “give him something to eat.”
He replied that his place was still closed. The man followed him and insulted him (the words included “nigger” and “faggot”), then he was physically attacked and punched. The perpetrator fled, but was arrested shortly afterwards.
Investigators: blatant disregard of the legal order
The crime he was accused of was classified as an offense of a hooligan nature, which means that the perpetrator committed it in public, for an obviously trivial reason, thus showing gross disregard for the legal order.
The District Court in Białystok – as the court of first instance – sentenced the accused to half a year in prison. He also awarded the injured party a thousand zlotys in damages, banned the convict from approaching the Algerian within 50 meters and banned him from contacting him in any form for three years.
Defense: claimed that the Algerian had treated female employees inappropriately
The defense attorney appealed against this verdict. He wanted a conditional discontinuation of the proceedings, or a prison sentence, but suspended. In the defense’s assessment, the district court unjustifiably did not believe the defendant’s motive (he claimed that the Algerian had treated the female employees inappropriately), did not take into account the opinions of the psychologist and psychiatrists, and dismissed requests to hear additional witnesses. The prosecutor’s office considers the verdict appropriate. She pointed out that half a year in prison was the lowest possible penalty considering the legal classification used by the court.
– The judgment is correct and did not require any correction by the appellate court – judge Halina Czaban justified the upholding of the judgment.
Judgment about the injured party: it is clear that he was very traumatized by this event
She emphasized – referring to the collected evidence, including the victim’s testimony, which the court found credible and confirmed in the testimonies of witnesses – that it was a racist and hooligan crime.
The judge pointed out that the incident had a negative impact on the life of the Algerian, who did not want to describe the attack in detail during the investigation. He said he felt the need to forgive the perpetrator.
– He was clearly afraid that his testimony would not become the cause of repeated certain behaviors of the environment in which the accused operates (…). It is clear that he was very distressed by this event, added Judge Czaban.
Court: the defendant’s explanations are simply irrational
She emphasized that the accused himself did not show any remorse during the trial in the first instance (he did not come to the appeal hearing, nor did his lawyer appear) and his regret was not sincere.
– His explanations as to why this situation occurred are simply irrational – said the judge.
She recalled baseless allegations that the Algerian had treated female employees improperly.
The judge said that the perpetrator behaved as if he considered the victim a “different, worse person than himself.”
– So he clearly negated the right of the injured party to function on an equal footing with him in public space – she added.
Court: denial of the right “to be different” may lead to armed conflicts
She admitted that such racist incidents are not that rare, especially recently.
– And questioning the right of other people to be treated equally may have significant consequences both within the local community, and then more broadly, also nationally and globally – said Judge Czaban.
She emphasized that the denial of the right “to be different” may even lead to armed conflicts.
She added that ensuring a sense of security in Poland for representatives of other nationalities “clearly requires an appropriate punitive response.”
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