Behemoth and artists charged with breaking the law on The Republic of the Unfaithful art

A prosecutor’s office in Poland have decided to press charges against Behemoth front-man Adam Darski, better known as Nergal, and artist Rafał Wechterowicz and Maciej Gruszka – the band’s webmaster – for desecrating the Polish national emblem. The three have plead not guilty to the charges.

The news was reported by Polish news outlet Wyborcza last week, before Adam Darski‘s response on social media brought attention to it in English-speaking outlets.

This is the latest development in the legal case following an initial complaint by Marek Dudziński to prosecutor’s office in September last year. He was joined by Ryszard Nowak in the complaint. They accused the band of violating Polish laws regarding the national flag and national emblem. We initially reported the case when Adam Darski and Rafał Wechterowicz was called to court in October as the prosecutor’s office decided to begin an investigation.

Adam Darski responded to the latest development, sharply, on social media to the latest development’s in the court case, writing on Instagram, “PiS-driven Poland is trying its best to nail my ass down… as an example I guess. But first thing is: it is NOT a Polish emblem. Second… let’s leave those arguments for the court case which is to begin shortly…!” Before lamenting, “Is their limits to their obscurity and blindness?”

PiS is the Polish acronym for currently ruling political party in Poland with a conservative and religious leanings. English speaking media commonly refer to the party by their English translation, Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość).

As reported by Onet.pl, Grażyna Wawryniuk, a spokesperson for Gdańsk-Śródmieście District Prosecutor’s Office, commented that the charges were filed after seeking the advice of experts in the field of heraldry, history and iconography. (Translated using Google Translate and edited for legibility.) “From these opinions it appears that the graphics created in the pattern of the Republic emblem was used and deliberately distorted to give it ideologically, a completely different meaning from the historical-state content. Also elements and symbols associated as satanic and anti-Christian were introduced to it.”

1) Whoever publicly insults, destroys, damages or removes an emblem, banner, standard, flag, ensign or other symbol of the State shall be subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to one year.

2) The same punishment shall be imposed on anyone, who on the territory of the Republic of Poland publicly insults, destroys, damages or removes an emblem, banner, standard, flag, ensign or other symbol of another State, publicly displayed by a mission of this State or upon an order of a Polish authority.

Excerpt from the Polish Penal Code, translated into English.

The Republic of the Unfaithful artwork is accused of being in violation of Article 137 of the Polish Penal Code. If found guilty then the sentence can include a fine or imprisonment.

Op-Ed: Why is Behemoth being sued for The Republic of the Unfaithful art?

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