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Foreign minister wins ‘anti-semite’ defamation case

PR dla Zagranicy
Nick Hodge 23.01.2013 15:00
An appeal court has ruled that Poland's foreign minister need not apologise to a right-wing Polish businessman who he described as an anti-semite.

Radoslaw Sikorski: photo - wikipedia

The defamation case referred to remarks made by Minister Radoslaw Sikorski in the book Strefa Zdekomuniziwana (De-communised Zone) composed of a series of interviews by journalist Lukasz Warzecha.

In the book, Sikorski described 89-year-old Jan Kobylanski, a backer of the ultra-conservative Radio Maryja and former honorary Polish consul in Uruguay and Argentina, as “an anti-semite and shady type.”

In March 2012, a Warsaw district court rejected Kobylanski's claim of defamation, ruling that Sikorski need not apologise nor pay 20,000 zloty [4800 euro] to charity, as the businessman’s lawyer had demanded.

Kobylanski's lawyer argued in the appeal that comments made by his client using the word “Jew” or “Jewish” could not be construed as amounting to “an aversion to the Jewish nation”.

This argument failed to convince the court, however.

Sikorski's defence council, Maria Bysiewicz-Staniszewska, highlighted previous comments by Kobylanski, such as “Jews will always hate Poles” because they have “rotten genes,” and that "one third of Polish bishops are Jews.”

Kobylanski - who was removed from office as honorary Polish consul to Argentina by the Foreign Ministry in 2000 after former Polish ambassadors to Uruguay and Costa Rica accused him of anti-semitism - also claimed in the past that, “80 percent of the Foreign Ministry are Jewish” and that “Poland must be ruled by Poles.”

Judge Barbara Trebska noted reports from the Polish ambassador in Uruguay that Kobylanski had a bad reputation in the region owing to his business relationship with late Paraguayan dictator General Alfredo Stroessner. (nh/pg)

source: PAP

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