Couple sentenced to one year in jail for carrying home-made explosives at Polish Pride parade

A Polish married couple have pleaded guilty for bringing home-made explosives devices to Lublin's Pride parade and were sentenced to one year in prison.

Armed police walking ahead of a Polish Pride parade, it was undercover police which found the explosives made by the married couple

The Polish courts have sentenced a married couple to one year in prison after they pleaded guilty to bringing home-made explosives to a Pride Parade in Lublin, Poland

On September 28 2019, the Pride Parade participants were making their way through the streets of Lublin when they were blocked by counter-protesters. The police detained 38 counter-protesters on the day. Following this, the prosecutors office carried out routine proceedings with 33 of them. 

The couple referred to as Karolina S, 21, and Arkadiusz S, 27, were among a crowd of 200 counter-protesters attacking LGBT+ people with eggs, bottles, and firecrackers. Non-uniformed police stopped and searched the pairing, finding them to be in possession of three explosive devices. Expert analysis showed that the weapons had the capacity to injure or kill several people within an eight-metre radius. 

Arkadiusz confessed to creating the explosives with information he found on the internet and claimed he wanted to make a “big bang” rather than hurt people. As quoted by NFP, he said, “The Celtic cross means I am for Poles, for family. I have a wife and normal family. My wife also has children from a previous relationship. She has limited parental rights, [and] together we’re fighting for those children.”

Prosecutors decided to charge the couple with the possession of explosive devices that threatened the health or life of a large number of people rather than an act of terrorism. Both defendants pleaded guilty and requested the court to issue convictions without trial, which was agreed upon. 

The regular sentence of eight years in prison for charges of possession was lessened to only one year, minus time in pre-trial detention. Judge Łukasz Czapski said, “The circumstances of the crime, as well as the defendants’ guilt are beyond question. The evidence proves the defendant had constructed three objects that should be treated, according to expert witness, as home-made explosive devices, posing threat to life and health of many people. Furthermore, the other defendant carried these devices in her backpack, and equipped this way they joined the counter-protest.”

Organiser of Lublin’s Pride Parade, Bartosz Staszewski, condemned the court’s verdict to lessen the prison sentence of the Polish couple, stating that the carrying of explosives equated to the same amount of time as refusing to pay alimony. He told TOK FM, “We’re dealing with a couple who planned to kill or hurt participants of a peaceful assembly. It is terrifying that such short sentences were handed down. Homophobic crimes should be a priority for the state, but they are not.

© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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