Citizens' initiative would penalise those who 'insult' Church says minister

Wojciech Pacewicz/PAP

Almost 400,000 signatures had been collected in favour of a citizens' initiative to amend the criminal code to penalise those who “insult and mock” the Catholic Church and other religious groups, announced the country’s minister of justice.

According to the project prepared by Solidary Poland (SP), a member of the ruling United Right coalition, persons who publicly "insult or ridicule" the Catholic Church or any other religious groups would be penalised and could receive sentences of up to 2 years in prison.

Zbigniew Ziobro, leader of SP, told a press conference on Tuesday that the submission of an amendment of the criminal code would be submitted to Elzbieta Witek, the Speaker of the Sejm, the lower house of parliament, in the hope that it would be worked on as soon as possible.

Ziobro added that Poles, today, were living in times of increasing aggression towards people who, as he said, had the will and courage to profess their faith, especially in public. "There are many, unfortunately, tangible examples of this," he said.

The project "is important, as well as necessary, to guarantee the safety of all Polish citizens," he concluded. 

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