Football hooligan jailed for spitting on black player
PR dla Zagranicy
A Polish football fan has been given a three-month prison sentence for a racially motivated attack on a black player.
Ugo Ukah (R) in action against Zawisza Bydgoszcz on Wednesday 10 April, 2014. Photo: PAP/Artur Reszko
Kamil Sz. (full name withheld under Polish privacy laws), a fan of top division (Ekstraklasa) side Jagiellonia Bialystok, turned on the team's black defender Ugo Ukah after a 1-1 draw with Pogon Szczecin in September 2012.
After the referee blew the final whistle, Jagiellonia players walked over to the stands to thank fans for their support.
However, as Judge Magdalena Beziuk-Gawecka confirmed at the district court in Bialystok, Kamil Sz. called Ukah a “nigger” and spat at the player.
Besides Ukah's own testimony, team-mates Rafal Grzyb and Filip Modelski testified on his behalf.
Surveillance footage also recorded the incident, although it took half a year for police to track down the suspect.
Neither Kamil Sz. nor his lawyer attended the district court in Bialystok on Wednesday to hear the sentence being read out, so it is unclear whether he will appeal against the verdict.
The UN’s Elimination of Racial Discrimination Committee concluded in a report earlier this year that Poland needs to take more steps to combat racially motivated hate crimes.
Dealing with racism in sport was among the themes discussed during the committee's February meeting in Geneva.
The Warsaw-based Eastern European Monitoring Centre published a study in 2011 chronicling over one hundred racist incidents in Polish football between 2009 and 2011. The subject gained further attention during Euro 2012, when the BBC explored the issue it is controversial documentary Stadiums of Hate. (nh)