Court Rules Against BEHEMOTH Frontman In Bible Tearing Charges (Updated)
While the east coast was submerged in water, Behemoth frontman Nergal aka Adam Darski was in a Polish court defending his freedom of speech. At a 2007 Polish show, Nergal began ripping pages of the bible while on stage and calling the Catholic Church "the most murderous cult on the planet." Some religious leaders in the country were not very happy about that, and decided to press charges.
One year later, Nergal was cleared of the charges by a lower court but now the trial went in front of the Supreme Court who just ruled against Nergal's favor.
According to a Polish Reuters report, to court decided against Nergal's favor. One of Nergal's lawyers commented:
"[The decision] is negative and restricts the freedom of speech. The court decided that this is allowed in a democratic system," Jacek Potulski, a lawyer for Darski, told Reuters.
He added, "We are still arguing that we were dealing with art, which allows more critical and radical statements."
The trial will now go to a lower court who will decide Nergal's punishment, which carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
Update: Reuters has filed a report further clarifying the situation:
The Supreme Court was asked to rule on legal arguments thrown up by the musician's trial in a lower court on charges of offending religious feelings.
It said a crime was committed even if the accused, who uses the stage name Nergal, did not act with the "direct intention" of offending those feelings, a court spokeswoman said.
That interpretation closed off an argument used by lawyers for Darski, who said he had not committed a crime because he did not intend to offend anyone.
The lower court will now decide if he is guilty. The maximum sentence is two years in jail, under Poland's criminal code. However, it is extremely rare for anyone convicted of this kind of crime in Poland to serve prison time.
Nergal is a national celebrity in Poland, and I personally can't see him doing any time for this, but then again, I don't live in Poland and am completely unsure of how their political system works. They may also be using this case to send a message to other entertainment figures to stay away from the bible.
Here is the video of the incident in question: