Football fans jailed after Mexican sailors beach battle
PR dla Zagranicy
Seven Polish football fans have been given prison sentences of over one year for attacking a group of Mexican sailors on a beach in Gdynia in August 2013.
The seven men, all supporters of premier division side Ruch Chorzow, had travelled to the Baltic city with other fans for a match against rival Arka Gdynia on Sunday 18 August.
While relaxing on the beach prior to the game, several fans clashed with Mexican sailors who had docked at the port city.
Fighting broke out in broad daylight while dozens of families were enjoying the weekend sunshine, and the incident garnered broad coverage in the Polish and Mexican press.
“Ruch Chorzow started to beat the Mexicans,” a 13-year-old witness told the the Gdynia court.
“They (the fans) had been drinking beer. The Mexicans ran away, but one was beaten so badly that he passed out, covered in blood.”
Six of the defendants were given sentences of one year and ten months, and one will serve two years and two months.
The latter, Lukasz Z. (full name withheld under Polish privacy laws), was given a harsher sentence as he had two previous convictions, and was awaiting a further trial for insulting a police officer.
Judge Bartosz Kahsin stated that all the evidence indicated that the Mexicans had instigated the fight, adding that he would have handed out suspended sentences if the attackers had accepted responsibility and shown remorse.
Nevertheless, there were cries of “scandal” from fans' families as the sentences were read out, and one defendant claimed the sentences were stiffer than normal as the incident has sparked a furore in the press. (nh)