Poland: Walesa escapes hate crime charge after anti-gay tirade

13/03/2013
Submitted by ILGA-Europe

Reposted from thenews.pl: http://www.thenews.pl/1/9/Artykul/129908,Walesa-escapes-hate-crime-charge-after-antigay-tirade

Prosecutors will not be pressing hate charges against Lech Walesa after his comments that gay MPs should “sit at the back of parliament”.

Renata Klonowska, head of the Regional Prosecutor's Office in Gdańsk - the city where Walesa led the historic 1980s Solidarity strikes - told the PAP news agency on Wednesday that they would not be pursuing the case, after Ryszard Nowak, director of the National Committee for the Defence Against Sects and Violence brought the matter to their attention, claiming Walesa had "promoted hatred against sexual minorities."

"I have watched the speech by Lech Walesa for signs of an offence,” Klonowska said, adding that investigators have studied his outburst under articles 256 and 257 of Poland's Penal Code, which outlaws incitement to hatred "based on national, ethnic, racial, religious or lack of religious beliefs.”

The prosecutor noted that both articles 256 and 257 do not mention hatred against those of a different sexual orientation.

She said that Ryszard Nowak has the right to appeal the decision.

Lech Walesa, a former president of Poland and Nobel Peace Prize winner, caused uproar when he told the TVN 24 news station that gay politicians should “sit at the back of parliament”, or even “behind a wall”, should not have important posts within parliament and gay pride marches should take place on the outskirts of cities and not in the city centre.

“They know they are a minority,” said Walesa, a devout Roman Catholic, and should be given rights in accordance with their numbers in society, he claimed.

Lech Walesa's son, member of the European Parliament Jaroslaw Walesa, said his father's comments were “harmful” and “typical of the older generation in Poland”. (pg)


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