By Nina Sankari
Statement of the Kazimierz Łyszczyński Foundation on the judgment concerning the caricature of Jesus in the weekly “NIE,” Kazimierz Łyszczyński Foundation, 2018-10-16.
The Kazimierz Łyszczynski Foundation and the Atheist Alliance of America express their outrage over the unjust judgment concerning publication of the caricature of Jesus in the weekly newspaper “NIE” (NO). The fine of 120,000 pln (more than USD $30,000) plus legal costs total 150,000 pln, which is many times higher than any fine ever ordered by a court for offending religious sentiments (article 196 of the Penal Code).
In 2015, by the request of the “blasphemer” Dorota Rabczewska (Doda), a similar case was examined against article 196 of the Penal Code. The interpretation given was that article 196 could be applied if the criticism of an object of religious worship was “abusive, derogatory and degrading.”
Taking this into consideration, this recent judgment’s reasoning is bizarre because this is a gentle cartoon depicting an amazed Jesus. Please look at it. It is in no way “abusive, derogatory and degrading.
The adoption of this law in 1997 was inconsistent with democracy, while its current application is a blatant mockery of democracy.
This is a political judgment which aims not only to condemn the independent satirical and anticlerical magazine to bankruptcy and to provoke a “chilling effect,” but it also seeks to intimidate both the media and society. We shall not let Polish law become an instrument of religious oppression, as is the case for the Shiite regime of the Ayatollahs or the Sunni theocracy in Saudi Arabia! We shall not allow the state authorities to put a death sentence on the freedom of the press by allowing them to act like those fundamentalists who attacked Charlie Hebdo!
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