Metal Musician Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski Fined by Polish Court for ‘Offending Religious Feelings’
Polish musician Adam ‘Nergal’ Darski, frontman for the extreme metal band Behemoth, has been sanctioned for violating his country’s blasphemy law. This week, news broke that Darski had been found guilty by a Polish court of “offending religious feelings”—a crime punishable by fines and up to two years in prison—for a 2019 Facebook post that showed him stepping on an image of the Virgin Mary, a sacred figure in Roman Catholic Poland.
Darski received fines of 18,500 złoty ($5,000). English news website Notes From Poland reports that he has contested the fines and that his case will proceed to a full trial.
Poland’s law criminalizing insults to religious feelings, Article 196, has long courted controversy for its restrictions on free expression. A Freedom House report describes the law as conflicting “with international standards on freedom of expression.” Successful prosecutions under the law are rare, says Freedom House, but “the legal process involved is itself a deterrent that encourages individuals, notably artists, to engage in self-censorship.”
Individuals can instigate Article 196 cases by filing complaints with prosecutors. It’s a tactic that conservative pressure groups and right-wing politicians have used repeatedly against offending ar
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