European Court wipes Polish blasphemy ruling off the table


Central Europe


Polish pop singer Dorota Rabczewska, also known as Doda. Photo AFP, Chris Ratcliffe

Polish pop star Dorota Rabczewska, also known as Doda, was convicted and fined for blasphemy ten years ago. Last Thursday, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that this verdict violated Rabczewska's right to freedom of expression.

In an interview broadcast in 2009, the Polish singer was asked about her beliefs, Religion.orf writes. She then replied that she believed in a higher power. However, she added that she was more convinced by dinosaurs than by the Bible, as reported by the BBC. Furthermore, she stated that it was hard for her to believe in something "written by people who drank too much wine and smoked weed."

In reaction to the interview, two people said to be hurt by Doda's statements and took her to court. In 2012, Polish judges of the Warsaw District Court agreed with their complaint and imposed her a fine of 5,000 zloty (about 1,060 euros).

However, last week, the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled that this verdict was disproportionately harsh. Therefore, it annulled the Polish ruling, arguing that Rabczewska's statements were protected by her freedom of expression and that the Polish judges had breached this right of the singer.

The European Court acknowledged that the singer had made some drastic statements but pointed out that she did not incite hatred or violence. Poland now has to pay the woman 10,000 euros for compensation.



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