The trial of Pastor Pawel Chojecki is coming to a close. On Monday, May 22, at 12:30 p.m., another hearing will be held before the Court of Appeals in Lublin. This may be the last hearing, and there will be no further possibility of appeal from the verdict in Poland. The pastor of the New Covenant Church in Lublin and editor-in-chief of Go Against the Tide TV is on trial for words spoken during sermons and statements on the TV station he founded. Will the pastor be convicted for his words and views, or will the court respect the Polish citizen’s right to freedom of speech and freedom of religion? This case is an important measure of democracy in Poland. We encourage media representatives and all interested parties to get involved in reporting on Pastor Chojecki’s trial and to come to the hearing in person. We also invite you to a protest happening that will take place on May 22 in front of the Lublin Court of Appeals building.
Lublin Court of Appeals
II Criminal Division
Obrońców Pokoju St. 1
The previous hearing in the trial of Pastor Pavel Chojecki was held on April 13. When the pastor left the court, he said:
„Protestants in Poland are threatened with such trials for speaking the truth about Jesus. This must stop! We are going for freedom!”
SEE REPORT ON THE TESTIMONY OF THREE PASTORS IN THE TRIAL OF ED. CHOJECKI (ENGLISH SUBTITLES):
On April 13, three pastors called as witnesses testified: pastor Henryk Skrzypkowski, member of the Presidium of the Baptist Church Council, pastor of the Baptist church in Chelm, pastor Ireneusz Dawidowicz of the Baptist church in Bialystok, psychologist, vice-president of the „Toward Good Hope” Association, as well a former priest Jerzy, retired pastor of a home church. All of them showed that Pastor Chojecki’s words fit into the accepted framework of pastoral activity and the freedom of religion in force in Poland.
A great many people gathered to support the pastor – not only in the courtroom, but also in front of the court building. Support for the pastor was expressed in slogans such as: „Freedom of speech for everyone,” „Support Pastor Chojecki,” and „We are going for freedom” placed on T-shirts and banners.
Pastor Pavel Chojecki, in a brief speech after leaving the court, said:
„The three pastors today had the opportunity to present the gospel of free salvation, show the superstition and darkness in our nation, show the errors and lead people to the truth of God’s word. This has begun. […] My only „crime” is that I have succeeded in preaching the gospel in Poland. And for this „crime” – if Poland considers it a crime – I am ready to suffer any consequences. I hope you are ready too.”
The gathered audience responded with loud applause.
The pastor of the New Covenant Church in Lublin is on trial for words – a few sentences from sermons and other programs aired on the web TV he runs – that a group of haters and the Law and Justice prosecutor’s office did not like. He was charged with insulting the religious feelings of Catholics, insulting Catholic objects of religious reverence, praising the initiation of a forward war against communist North Korea, and insulting the Polish Nation and the President of Poland.
Recall that the court of first instance sentenced Pastor Chojecki to eight months of restriction of liberty in the form of community service. In addition, the pastor would have to pay legal costs of nearly PLN 21,000. Four appeals have been filed to the verdict. In Pastor Chojecki’s defense, the law firm of legal counsel Adam Wroblewski, the law firm of attorney Andrzej Sawicki and the law firm of attorney Andrzej Turczyn filed an appeal. Prosecutor Katarzyna Urban also filed an appeal, seeking a prison sentence.