Poland / 02-03-2017
Five men were convicted of pasting antisemitic posters
The trial was conducted behind closed doors. The reasoning of the verdict was also not voiced in public.
The district court in Lublin issued five men with suspended sentences as well as fines, and this for distributing and pasting posters at public transport stations containing antisemitic content, which aims to demean different people.
The court ruled that they were guilty of producing and distributing posters inciting to hatred on the grounds of racial and ethnic differences and demeaning those who identify as Jews, as well as defaming public figures from Lublin.
Four men- among them Krzysztof K., a museum worker in Majdanek (Muzeum na Majdanku) which is located in Lublin, as well as Bartłomiej K., Łukasz P. and Krzysztof K.- received suspended sentences ranging from six to eight months on probation for two years, as well as fines amounting from 800 złoty and up to two thousand złoty. The fifth convict- Michał W. only received a fine totaling 800 złoty.
The case concerns a series of posters with antisemitic content, which were distributed and pasted in public transport stations in Lublin during the years 2012-2014, in different time periods. For example, in September 2013, posters that had been pasted were headed by the caption: „Burn! Hang! Castrate!“ or, in some cases, adorned with a drawing of rats across a background image of an apartment building which was marked with a red Star of David. On top of the pasted posters, which contained offensive and vulgaire content, portraits were attached, including of the mayor of Lublin, who used to serve as the ediot of the leading newspaper in Lublin, Gazety Wyborczej, as well as the director of the Grodzka Gate- NN (no name) theater center, which studies the history of the Jews in Lublin.
In January 2014, police arrested Krzysztof K., Bartłomiej K., Łukasz P after catching them red-handed while pasting posters in bus stations in Lublin, which were headed by the captions: “Zionists get out of Lublin!”, “Our streets!”, “Our apartment buildings!” they also had a caption which addressed the symbol of the star of David, and included portraits of 11 people employed in cultural institutions or organizationsin Lublin, which study Jewish history and heritage in Lublin as well as the issues concerning national minorities.
Two of the defendants- Bartłomiej K. and Łukasz P- were also held accountable for the vandalization and desecration, in January 2014, of a wall commemorating the labor camp which was set up by Germans in duty for Hitler, in Trawnikach. The court ordered them, among other things, to pay compensation fines amounting to 300 złoty for the benefit of the “initiatives association” in Trawnikach, which is the seat of the association.
The office of the prosecutor filed an indictement in this matter against Rafała I., who allowed use of his car to the men who pasted the posters. The court acquitted Rafała I. from the offenses attributed to him.
On top of that, the court acquitted the defendants from the charge of activity in an organized crime group. As emphasized by the lawyer acting on behalf of one of the defendants, attorney Tomasz Rubinsky, in conversation with journalists after the announcement of the verdict, this charge was the basis for the arrest warrant issued to the four men at that time by the justice of the peace court, which was cancelled two weeks later by the district court in Lublin.