The District Prosecutor’s Office in Gdańsk discontinued the investigation into “political death certificates” issued in 2017 by the All-Polish Youth to 11 city presidents. All because the investigators did not find any signs of a prohibited act. The President of Lublin, Krzysztof Żuk, does not agree with this decision. The local government official believes that “hate speech cannot remain unresponsive”.
On June 30, 2017, at a meeting held in Gdańsk, 11 presidents of cities belonging to the Union of Polish Metropolises signed a declaration on cooperation in the field of migration. The signatories then declared, inter alia, “openness and willingness to cooperate in partnership with the government administration, non-governmental organizations and religious associations in the area of creating and implementing Polish migration policy based on safe migration management”.
“Polish large cities have been open to migration processes and the diversity of their inhabitants for many years” – it was written in the document signed by the presidents of Białystok, Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk, Kraków, Lublin, Łódź, Poznań, Rzeszów, Szczecin, Warsaw and Wrocław.
The graphics looked like real death certificates
In response to this declaration, “political death certificates” of 11 city mayors appeared on the official profile of the All-Polish Youth in social media.
The graphics resembled real documents. Each one had a photo and data, information about the date, time and place of death. The cause of the politician’s death was given as “liberalism, multiculturalism, stupidity”. The Polish nation and the All-Polish Youth were entered in the “authority issuing the act” field.
The prosecutor’s office discontinues, the court orders you to deal
After Paweł Adamowicz, the then president of Gdańsk, submitted a notification about the possibility of committing a crime, the Gdańsk Śródmieście District Prosecutor’s Office initiated an investigation into the matter.
However, in December 2018 it was discontinued. The prosecutor’s office concluded that the acts did not contain threats and incitement to hatred, as indicated by the presidents interviewed in the investigation. On the other hand, as it was established, the motive for the actions of people who posted “political death certificates” on the Internet was the expression of dissatisfaction with the signing of the declaration by local government officials.
In March 2020, the District Court in Gdańsk overturned the prosecutor’s decision. First of all, because he considered that the evidence was not sufficient, and the decision was premature, and that the evidence initiative should be extended, i.e. gathering more material. He also indicated that the prosecutor’s office should check whether the emblem of the Republic of Poland had been insulted.
Prosecutor’s Office: there is no unlawful threat and no incitement to hatred
Therefore, the case was referred to the District Prosecutor’s Office in Gdańsk, which also discontinued the investigation.
– In the prosecutor’s opinion, the published “political death certificates” do not contain an unlawful threat, i.e. the threat of announcing a crime to anyone’s detriment, threats of causing criminal proceedings or broadcasting a message that is offensive to a given person or the person closest to him – Grażyna Wawryniuk from the Prosecutor’s Office tells us District in Gdańsk.
He adds that the content posted by the All-Polish Youth also did not contain phrases that should be considered offensive and inciting hatred on the basis of national, ethnic, racial or religious differences. According to the prosecutor’s office, the intention was not to incite hatred, but to comment or express dissatisfaction with the initiatives undertaken by the local government officials mentioned in the graphic.
– The emblem of the Republic of Poland placed on the “political death certificates” has not been distorted and has not been used to ridicule or express contempt – emphasizes the spokesman.
The mayor of Lublin filed a complaint
The decision to discontinue the proceedings in this case is not final. The Mayor of Lublin, Krzysztof Żuk, informed on Facebook that he had already filed complaints with the Regional Prosecutor’s Office in Gdańsk and the local District Court. “Hate speech cannot remain without reaction” – wrote the local government official.
“Someone will say + these are just comments and posts on the Internet, on Facebook, nothing bad will happen because of this +. But on January 13, 2019 in Gdańsk, we all saw what the seemingly trivial hate speech from Internet comments can lead to, when he tragically died Paweł Adamowicz. The All-Polish Youth also issued a political death certificate for him, “we read in the president’s entry.
According to the Gdańsk prosecutor’s office, so far there have been three complaints.
The decision to discontinue the investigation was made by the District Prosecutor’s Office in Gdańsk
Main photo source: TVN24