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Amnesty Urgent Actions
Startseite Urgent Actions 2019 05 Stop harassment of human rights activist
UA 062/19
Poland
Aktiv seit 9. Mai 2019 | Noch 23 Tage Laufzeit
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25.09.2019 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.

 

Take action

  • Write an appeal in your own words or use the model letter below.
  • Please take action before 6 November 2019 (deadline extended).
  • Preferred language: Polish and English. You can also write in your own language.

 

Model letter

Dear Minister of Interior,

I am writing to express my concern over the ongoing investigation against human rights defender Elżbieta Podleśna for «offending religious believes» after the police raided her home at 6am on 6 May and allegedly found copies of posters depicting the Virgin Mary with a halo around head and shoulders in the colours of the LGBTI flag.

Following the raid Elżbieta Podleśna was arrested and taken into detention for several hours. The police also confiscated her electronic equipment, including her laptop, phone and memory cards.

Having, creating or distributing posters such as these, should not be a criminal offense and is protected under the right to freedom of expression.

Elżbieta Podleśna is already facing numerous legal proceedings stemming solely from her peaceful activism. The way she is targeted with absurd charges in this case is consistent with this pattern of harassment.

I therefore urge you to ensure that the investigation against Elżbieta Podleśna for «offending religious beliefs» is halted immediately, that the police return all of Elżbieta Podleśna’s belonging and that she can carry out her peaceful actions free from harassment and reprisals.

Yours sincerely,

 

Appeals to

Minister of Interior, Mr. Mariusz Kamiński
Ministerstwo Spraw Wewnętrznych i Administracji
ul. Stefana Batorego 5
02-591, Warszawa
Polska

E-Mail: kancelaria.glowna@mswia.gov.pl ; biuroministra.BM@mswia.gov.pl
Twitter: @MariuszKaminsk
Fax: 0048 (22) 601 39 88

Salutation: Dear Minister of Interior,

 

 

 

Copies to

Ambassade de la République de Pologne
Elfenstrasse 20, 3015 Berne
Case postale 151, 3000 Berne 15

Fax: 031 358 02 16
E-mail: berno.amb.sekretariat@msz.gov.pl

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