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Death metal star to be re-tried for insulting religion

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 08.01.2013 15:05
A court in Gdansk has overruled a previous judgment which found that a rock star was not guilty of insulting religious sentiment when he ripped up a Bible on stage.

Nergal;
Nergal; photo - behemoth.pl

The district court overruled on Tuesday a ruling in 2011 that Adam Darski, better known as ‘Nergal’, the lead singer of the death metal band Bethemoth, exercised his right to artistic freedom when he ripped up a copy of the Bible while on stage in Gdynia, northern Poland, in 2007.

The case will now have to go to a re-trial in what will be a major ruling on freedom of speech in Poland.

Nergal also said during the Bethemoth concert five years ago that the Bible was “full of lies” and that the Roman Catholic church was the world’s “biggest criminal sect”.

Members of the audience then burnt pages of the Bible, triggering off a long-running series of lergal actions.

During the 2011 trial, Darski's lawyers argued that the 2007 concert was for a closed group of fans who had not been offended by the musician's behaviour.

The court accepted that the singer's actions were of an “artistic” nature and that Nergal had not directly intended to offend religious sensibilities.

Poland's Supreme Court concluded in October last year, however, that a person may be found guilty of offending religious sensibilities even if the defendant had not “directly” intended to do so.

“The crime of offending religious sensibilities is committed not only by he who intends to carry it out, but also by he who is aware that his actions may lead to offence being taken,” the court concluded.

Ryszard Nowak of the Defence Against Sects and Violence organisation then persuaded prosecutors to bring the case back to court in Gdansk, where the judge ruled that Nergal could now be re-tried for insulting religious sentiment. (pg)

Source: PAP

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