Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Stop anti-communist persecution in Poland - Statement by the Communist Party (KPP)

Anti-communist persecution in Poland intensifies as the state authorities attempt to criminalize the communist activity by changes of the penal code. This is an element of the anti-communist campaign aimed at banning the Communist Party of Poland
The legal changes are also a part of the persecution such as a trial of the members of the CPP and the „Brzask" editorial board, lasting for about 3,5 years, despite the fact that the court on January declared them as innocent. At the same time the Polish authorities raise other obstacles to the communist activity as well as falsifying the history and destroying anything connected with communism and the Peoples' Poland.
The amendments to the penal code, including the ban of communist activity (article 256) were made just 10 days before the elections to the European Parliament. They mean heavier, unacceptable punishments and widening scope of punishable crimes. The changes are numerous and concern 105 out of 360 articles of the code. The government presented the changes as a reaction on the paedophilia scandal among the Catholic priests and related to this crime. However, just a few amendments concern it.
The reactionary changes have been proceded very hastily. On the 14th of May, the project was sent by the government to the parliament. The next day the Sejm (the lower chamber) started the legislative procedure and on 16th of May, it was voted and passed by the Sejm. Later it was passed to the upper chamber – Senate, which added further 43 amendments, and now returns to be voted in Sejm. The government has the majority in both chambers so it would not have any problems with passing the amendments. Next, the new law should be signed by the president. There is a widespread opinion of lawyers that changes of the code violate the constitution and human rights. However, the Constitutional Court is currently controlled by the judges nominated by the government.
Amended article 256* bans communism and equates it with Nazism and fascism. Previously it penalised the promotion of the „fascist or other totalitarian systems of the state". 10 years ago there was already an attempt to ban the communist symbols with the same article, it was met with internal and international protests and in 2011 it was cancelled by the Constitutional Court. However, in recent years the law was used very widely as shows the history of the trial of the CPP and „Brzask". The new version of the law bans the ideology, symbols or any other contents (prints, recordings), as well as presentation and possession of any symbol of this content. The new code also increases the penalty from 2 to 3 years of imprisonment.
We demand all the prosecutions against the communists to be stopped immediately.
We call the communist parties to oppose the anti-communist campaign and penalization of communist ideas in Poland.
We ask you to organize the international protests in front of Polish embassies or send protest letters, preferably on the 12th of June, when the new law is planned to be finally passed by the parliament.
*We include the new version of the article which bans the communist activity in Poland:
"Art 256
  • 1. Who publicly promotes Nazi, communist, fascist or other totalitarian state system or calls for hatred on the basis of national, ethnic, racial or denominational differences, or because of lack of a religious denomination, is subjected to the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 3 years.
  • 1a. The same punishment is imposed on who publicly propagates nazi, communist and fascist ideologies or an ideology calling for use of violence to influence political or social life.
  • 2. The same penalty shall be imposed on anyone who, for the purpose of dissemination, produces, records or imports, acquires, sells, offers, stores, holds, presents, transports or transmits a print, recording or other object containing the content specified in § 1 or 1a or which is the carrier of the Nazi, communist, fascist or other totalitarian symbolism, used in a way that propagates the content.