Today, the District Court in Lublin issued a judgment in the case of Pastor Pawel Chojecki, editor-in-chief of Against the Tide TV, who has been tried for, inter alia, insulting the religious feelings of Catholics and insulting President Andrzej Duda. The pastor was sentenced to eight months of restriction of freedom in the form of 20 hours per month of community work and reimbursement of the costs of the trial – more than 20 thousand PLN. The judgment is not legally valid.
The prosecutor accused pastor Paweł Chojecki, editor-in-chief of Against the Tide TV, of insulting the religious feelings of Catholics, insulting Catholic objects of religious worship, praising the initiation of a war of aggression against communist North Korea, and insulting the Polish people and the President of the Republic.
Prosecutor Katarzyna Urban accused Pastor of, inter alia, insulting President Andrzej Duda with the terms “ram”, “traitor”, “coward”, “Dudas” or “sleeping agent”.
The allegations also include insulting religious feelings of Catholics by ridiculing and criticizing Catholic dogmas in calling the teachings on transsubstance idolaciation, or saying that the Fatima apparition is a denial of what we know the Word of God says about the Bible.
Andrzej Turczyn, the pastor’s lawyer, argued that public debate does not have to be pleasant and that the court should stand up for freedom of expression.
Many internet users have expressed outrage at the prosecution’s conduct and have also expressed their support for Pastor Paweł Chojecki, using the hashtag #SupportPastorChojecki.
Support also comes from abroad. Kind words for Pastor Chojecki came, inter alia, from:
- Solomon Yue, vice chairman and CEO of Republicans Overseas – an organization grouping members of the Republican Party living outside the US,
- Bob Kraft – an American pastor, Chen Guangcheng – a Chinese dissident,
- Chapman Chen – a founder of Hong Kong Bilingual News,
- Halmurat Harri Uyghur – a pro-freedom Uyghur activist, founder of UyghurAid
- Art Thompson of the John Birch Society – the largest anti-communist organization in the world.