On Wednesday, March 31, the first trial was held at the Lublin Regional Court, in which the accused is Pastor Paweł Chojecki, the editor-in-chief of Against The Tide TV. – The prosecution prepared the indictment based on materials provided by people who for years have been hating me and the Church and Television that I run – reports Pastor Chojecki. Indeed, during the trial, one of the authors of the report on the pastor refused to answer the questions, saying that it would lead to him facing criminal charges. The next hearing will be held on April 28.
Pastor Paweł Chojecki is accused of offending the religious feelings of Catholics, insulting objects of the Catholic worship, praising the initiation of aggressive war with communist North Korea (sic!), and insulting the Polish nation and President Andrzej Duda. He faces up to 5 years in prison.
During the six-hour hearing, it turned out that only some of the accusers of Pastor Chojecki are well versed in the matter of the charges, and four people play a key role: Radosław Patlewicz, Grzegorz Wysok, Paweł Bieganowski, and Adam Leks. These people run websites and publish defamatory materials of the pastor, the New Covenant Church in Lublin, and Against The Tide TV, in which the term “sect” is one of the lightest epithets. Accordingly, criminal proceedings are pending. One of the cases ended with an apology by a hater to a policeman, a member of the church, for defamation on account of his religious affiliation.
Surprisingly, the prosecutor’s office adopted as evidence material videos prepared by haters (short excerpts of Pastor Chojecki’s sermons and journalistic programs without context) with offensive and anti-Semitic titles. During the trial, some of the pastor’s accusers tried to refuse to answer the questions of Andrzej Turczyn, the defense attorney, aimed at establishing whether they were the authors of the hateful materials against Pastor Chojecki. One of them even informed the Court that answering those questions could lead to him facing criminal liability. Sometimes they also tried to justify themselves with oblivion.
Pastor Paweł Chojecki submitted extensive written explanations regarding each allegation on the grounds of the indictment. – I have shown that the Prosecutor’s Office misinterpreted my words, which when read in their full context, both in content and form, fit within the general framework of contemporary political debate and historical polemics between Protestants and Catholics. By denying me the right to criticize Catholic dogmas in the form I choose, and to evaluate the president’s political activities, the prosecutor’s office takes away my freedom to profess and preach my faith and suppresses the political debate in a democratic country. The accusation of communist North Korea, at war with the free world since 1950 and intimidating its neighbors with more missile tests, is so bizarre that it fits the “Trial” of Franz Kafka. I am shocked and very saddened by the quality of the work of the Prosecutor’s Office under the rule of Law and Justice. This is the level of dictatorial regimes – says Pastor Chojecki.
As the main argument in the religious dispute, the Prosecutor’s Office used the opinion of an expert in the field of religious studies – prof. Elżbieta Przybył-Sadowska, Director of the Institute of Religious Studies at the Jagiellonian University. The expert admitted that the statements of Pastor Chojecki fall within the norms of the Protestant-Catholic religious dispute, however, she found a crime in the form and style of the sermons and the pastor’s statements. However, in the field of language, prof. Przybył-Sadowska is not an expert. Therefore, the pastor’s defender asked for the appointment as a witness of authority in the field of linguistics.
The next hearing will be held on April 28, in the District Court in Lublin (IV Criminal Division).
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Pastor @PawelChojecki tried for insulting the feelings of Catholics and the President. He faces 5 years in prison‼
— Against the Tide (Idź Pod Prąd) TV (@AgainstTideTV) April 7, 2021
Pastor Paweł Chojecki and his message to Poles: