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Amnesty Urgent Actions
Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 05 Stop harassment of human rights activist
UA 062/19
Poland
Abgeschlossen am 18. Dezember 2019
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7.11.2019 Appeal extension

The appeals deadline has been extended to 18 December for the Urgent Action on Ela Podleśna’s case. We do not have yet a trial date or any indication of the charges being dropped, so we are asking activists to continue writing appeals.

We are committed to update you regularly and review our strategy according to new developments.
The more consistent the pressure on the authorities, the better we hope the outcome will be for Ela.

Clarification:

About the recent news concerning a Polish activist that was acquitted of charges related to using the poster of the Virgin Mary with the rainbow halo at an equality march in Częstochowa:
Just to clarify, this activist was not Ela, and she continues to be under investigation for the charges of 'offending religious beliefs'. However it is good news indeed that the Prosecutor in Częstochowa decided that the picture itself does not offend religious beliefs.

Also, some of you might have been following the case of the 14 Polish Women Human Rights Defenders that faced prosecution for standing up to fascism and might have heard the amazing news that on 24 October 7 of the 14 women who had appealed the negative sentenced of 'interference with a lawful assembly', were declared not guilty of the charges. While Ela is one of the 14 women, she was not one of the 7. However, even if the judgement regards only some of the women, we are celebrating it as a victory for all of them as they put up a collective fight, supporting one another in this court case.

 

25.9.2019 New Minister + Appeal extension

We would like to encourage you to continue promoting this UA on human rights defender Elżbieta Podleśna (Ela) and we are therefore extending the appeals deadline until 6 November 2019. It’s been assessed that continuing with this action remains relevant as the authorities must understand that we are not giving up until they drop this absurd investigation.
Also, a new Minister of Interior – Mr. Mariusz Kamiński - was recently appointed and we therefore changed name and twitter address accordingly.
Please also support the web action.
Thank you for your continued support for Elżbieta Podleśna.

 

12.7.2019 LATEST NEWS + DEADLINE EXTENSION

The case against Elżbieta Podleśna, one of the 14 brave Polish human rights defenders, remains pending to date and continuous engagement is strongly encouraged. As documented in the initial Urgent Action issued in May 2019, after returning from a trip, Elżbieta Podleśna’s house was raided and she was charged with the offence of «offending religious beliefs» for which she is risking up to two years of imprisonment.

To date, many sections are working on the case and we have counted more than 73,000 actions taken from around the world. Elżbieta Podleśna is feeling very well supported and expressed gratitude for all the support she has been receiving.

Supported by her lawyer, Elżbieta Podleśna challenged in court the action of the police and few days ago the judge found that the action of the police was «unjustified» although «legal». We are awaiting the justification of the decision to fully understand the arguments used by the judge for such bittersweet evaluation of what happened.

With such verdict, the following steps might be Elżbieta Podleśna filling a complaint for compensation for the action of the police, however no steps have yet been confirmed.

As the charges against her remain in place, we kindly invite you to continue writing appeals.


Change: The Polish Minister of Interior has changed and that it is now Elżbieta Witek. The address and email are the same but the Twitter and Facebook links have changed.

Please also support the web action

Stop harassment of human rights activist

AI-Index: EUR 37/0331/2019

On 6 May at around 6am the police raided the home of prominent human rights defender Elżbieta Podleśna, arrested her and kept her in detention for several hours. The police claimed to have found in her home copies of posters depicting the Virgin Mary with a halo around head and shoulders in the colours of the LGBTI flag and she is being investigated for «offending religious believes», a criminal offence that carries up to two years’ imprisonment. Elżbieta Podleśna is being targeted for her human rights activism and this absurd investigation must be stopped.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

Human rights defender Elżbieta Podleśna had just returned from a trip to Belgium and the Netherlands with Amnesty International when her home was raided by the police at 6am on 6 May. It remains unclear why it was necessary to investigate Elżbieta Podleśna and why the prosecutor’s office authorised the raid instead of just summoning her to the police station to testify. Elżbieta Podleśna was arrested by the police and taken into detention for several hours. The police also confiscated her electronic equipment, including her laptop, phone and memory cards.

Elżbieta Podleśna is suspected of «offending religious beliefs», after the police claimed that they found copies of a posters depicting the Virgin Mary with a halo around head and shoulders in the colours of the LGBTI flag when they raided her home. The image had been posted around the town of Płock, in central Poland, at the end of April. Having, creating or distributing posters such as these, should not be a criminal offense and is protected under the right to freedom of expression. Poland is bound by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) as well as the Charter of the Fundamental Rights of the EU to respect, protect and promote the right to freedom of expression.

This case should be seen in the broader context of harassment of activists and human rights defenders in Poland. Elżbieta Podleśna is facing at least 14 different proceedings in relation to her peaceful activism and she is under constant police surveillance. As documented in the recent report The power of «the street»: Protecting the right to peaceful protest in Poland, this form of harassment is common against outspoken activists and human rights defenders.

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