Poland: Trio back in court over posters showing Virgin Mary with LGBT halo

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11/10/2021

Three activists cleared in Poland earlier this year over posters depicting the Virgin Mary with an LGBT halo are back in court today. They were acquitted of “offending religious beliefs” in March, but prosecutors have appealed that verdict. Article 196 of Poland’s penal code states that offending people’s religious feelings by publicly outraging an object or place of religious worship is a criminal offence. The punishment can be up to two years in prison if found guilty. Amnesty International, calling the case “outrageous”, argues Article 196 “provides overly broad scope for the authorities to prosecute and criminalise individuals, in violation of their right to freedom of expression”. The three women, named by Amnesty as Elżbieta, Anna and Joanna, were originally charged in July 2020, after Elżbieta was arrested in 2019 following a trip abroad with Amnesty. They are accused of putting up the posters on 29 April 2019 in public places in the city of Plock.

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