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No penalty for hammer and sickle, says sport minister

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 01.06.2012 15:15
Poland's Minister of Sport has insisted that Russian football fans will not be penalised for wearing communist symbols during Euro 2012, following a commotion in the Russian media.

Minister Anna Mucha on Friday: photo PAP/ Pawel Supernak

Speaking at a press conference on Friday, Minister Joanna Mucha clarified that while the promotion of fascist or totalitarian beliefs is prohibited, the wearing of such symbols “is not forbidden under Polish law.”

On Tuesday, Jaroslaw Ksiazek, an official at the Polish Embassy in Moscow had said that “the image of the hammer and sickle is treated in the same way that fascist symbols are, and is legally prohibited,” as cited by the Sport Express daily.

The remarks prompted Russia's Minister of Sport, Vitali Mutko, to declare that Poland was only provoking his country's football fans.

“We know how bans work, and that the forbidden fruit is always sweet,” he told Russia's Life News.

“Poland has unnecessarily heated up this situation, and is provoking our fans to take action in protest,” he said.

Nevertheless, Joanna Mucha attempted to calm the situation on Friday by clarifying the legal context.

Although the promotion of totalitarian beliefs is forbidden, in 2011, Poland's Constitutional Tribunal - the supreme legal body in resolving constitutional disputes – removed a section of the law that penalised the bearing of symbols.

According to the law, provided that the symbols are not “glorified,” the bearing of such symbols is legal. The law stipulates that sporting such symbols is acceptable within the framework of artistic, educational or academic pursuits, likewise for collectors of military or political regalia. (nh)

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