European Parliament lifts immunity of four Polish conservative MEPs facing criminal charges for retweeting criticism of illegal migration

Patryk Jaki speaking during the local government election in 2018. (EPA-EFE/Pawel Supernak POLAND OUT)
By Grzegorz Adamczyk
3 Min Read

The European Parliament has voted to lift the immunity of four of Poland’s governing party’s MEPs who have been accused of violating hate crime laws for endorsing an election advert that warned of the dangers of mass immigration.

Beata Kempa, Beata Mazurek, Patryk Jaki, and Tomasz Poreba could now face charges in their homeland for racially aggravated offenses after they retweeted and liked a Law and Justice (PiS) election video on social media ahead of local elections in 2018.

The video warned of the threats that an influx of illegal immigrants to Europe could cause and linked “enclaves of Muslim refugees” with sexual assaults and violent attacks.

It also suggested that a government formed by the Civic Coalition (KO), the largest opposition grouping, would lead to an influx of illegal immigration that would make residents “afraid to go out on the streets after dark.”

Accusations against the quartet were filed by Rafal Gawel, a left-wing Polish activist, who filed a subsidiary indictment in November 2021 after the prosecutor’s office twice dismissed his original claims as unfounded.

Gawel, who was convicted of embezzlement in Poland in 2019 and is wanted by the Polish police, subsequently obtained asylum in Norway, claiming that he was the victim of a politicized justice system.

Thereafter, Edyta Snastin-Jurkun, a Warsaw court judge, submitted a request to the European Parliament to waive the immunities of the four MEPs.

Gilles Lebreton, an MEP and rapporteur in the European Parliament’s Legal Affairs Committee, whose task is to give opinions on such applications, stated that it was politically motivated and recommended its rejection.

On Tuesday, however, the Legal Affairs Committee voted in favor of the proposal to waive their immunity, and the European Parliament backed its stance on removing immunity for the four MEPs so they could stand trial in Poland.

Beata Mazurek, commenting on the ruling, said later on Thursday: “We are neither surprised nor shocked by this decision — we predicted that this would happen, taking into account what is occurring in this parliament.

“We are moving on, continuing our work, we are not limited in any way,” she added. “We will certainly not succumb to such pressure and become intimidated or limited in our political activities.”

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