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    Protesters Penalized for Simulating Execution of European Parliament Members

    A court in Krakow, Poland, fined two organisers of a 2017 demonstration on Friday, the sum of PLN 9,000 (EUR 1,960). During the demonstration, some Polish MEPs were subjected to a mock hanging.

    In November 2017, nationalists organised a ‘manifestation’ in Katowice, Poland, in which pictures of six Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) who had voted in favour of a European Parliament resolution on the rule of law were hung from symbolic gallows.

    The incident, some in Poland claimed at the time, highlighted a growing problem of xenophobia and nationalism that had been allegedly nurtured by the government.

    A court in Poland has ruled that five people who protested against certain members of the European Parliament will face fines for defamation. Judge Agnieszka Senisson said that the defendants had referred to the consequences faced by some leaders of the Targowica Confederation, which “included public execution of the death penalty,” in regard to their critical assessment of the MEPs. The ruling orders the defendants to pay a fine.

    The Targowica Confederation, made up of Polish and Lithuanian nobles, sparked outrage amongst nationalist factions when they denounced the Constitution of May 3, 1791. The group was labelled as traitors by those who opposed their stance.

    According to the judge, the demonstrators’ words, such as “holding politicians accountable in a stricter sense” and “there will be no shortage of gallows for the traitors” had been used as threats against the pictured MEPs.

    A judge has stated that the planning and execution of a particular event has stayed within the parameters of public discussion.

    The verdict is still subject to appeal.

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