Polish Journalist Jailed March 19 for Filming a Protest That Happened Two Years Ago

Apr 20th, 2011 | By | Category: Freedom of Speech, News, Poland, Political Persecutions

By Natalka Zubar

Independent journalist Klaudiusz Wesołek from Gdansk Poland was arrested yesterday for filming a protest action that took place two years ago.

On March 20, 2009, in Sopot, Poland, a group of young people dressed as pirates came to a town hall meeting and shouted – “Our Mayor is the biggest sea pirate!”. On that day the city council was considering a vote on the dismissal of the mayor due to accusations of corruption.

Klaudiuzs was filming the event with his mobile phone. After the meeting he interviewed the activists outside the building. He published these videos on his youtube channel. See for yourself:

Police had recorded the names of all the activists as well as his own. Some time later he was charged with “violating the law and peace in city hall”. The accusation stated that he was “trying to disrupt the meeting and was shouting at the head of the council”.

Klaudiuzs was not allowed to speak at the court proceedings and the court issued a summary conviction (wyrokiem nakazowym).

It is evident from the video above, that Klaudiuzs was not shouting anything and only commented on the movie.

On April 19, 2011 police came to his apartment, handcuffed Klaudiuzs and pushed him into a police car.

He lives alone, his dogs are locked inside his apartment and there is nobody to feed them.

One of legendary leaders of Solidarnost (the anti-communist movement of 1970-80’s), Andrzej Gwiazda,  commented on this case as the  “malicious intent of government”.

“The arrest of journalist Klaudiusz Wesołek and the previous beating of editor Michał Stróżyk show that the government has taken off it’s mask and has started a campaign of terror – Andrzej Gwiazda says. – I want to attract attention to the fact that he was arrested two years after the prescriptive sentence, a few days before the holiday. I have not the slightest doubt as to its malicious intent”.

Recently the US State Department issued the 2010 Human Rights Report: Poland where they outlined that:

Content restrictions on the media include a law that prohibits the promotion of activities that are against government policy, morality, or the common good and requires that all broadcasts “respect the religious feelings of the audiences and, in particular, respect the Christian system of values.” In practice the government rarely enforced this provision, which allows for levying fines on programs deemed offensive.

Some of my contacts in Poland say these restrictions are already imposed by indirect methods, and Klaudiusz’ case is an example of how it is done.

See the short documentary about his arrest (in Polish). At 8:44 you can see Klaudiusz being handcuffed

Klaudiuzs Wesolek is an independent journalist from Gdansk, Poland, he runs an internet TV – he is reporter, editor and commentator. He is a bachelor of law and environmental management, studied in Poland, USA and Slovakia. Klaudiuzs knows many languages.

He was an active opposition activist since 1980’s, he was repressed for participation in the Gdansk strike in 1988. He always remained in opposition to any government. He is an eternal rebel who has voluntarily chosen to follow his conscience and never compromise his ideals.

I know Klaudiuzs since 1994 when he moderated and operated a Ukrainian-Polish email-list. I reprinted his materials in the newspapers that I edited. He alerted me to the current proceedings in Poland and triggered my interest in human rights violations and communism’s revival in Poland. Ironically a few days before his arrest he created a facebook group dedicated to political prisoners in Poland.

My previous articles on current events in Poland:

Media Duped or Silenced? Why the Silence about Tens of Thousands Polish Citizens on the Street?

The Crime of the Communists: They Steal Lives, Flowers and Matches.

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2 Comments to “Polish Journalist Jailed March 19 for Filming a Protest That Happened Two Years Ago”

  1. pani says:

    I want to add that Klaudiuzs was the only one who managed to film the real scope of demonstration on April 10th and was the only one to issue an English launguage video report on brutal beating of journalist by municipal guard that day.

  2. terry says:

    Hi Pani,
    Referencing the US State Dept. report puts the US itself in a very questionable light. Poland is party — i.e. signed and ratified — to 25 of 26 Human Rights Conventions listed in the appendices.
    http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/index.htm

    The US is party to less than half, most notably excluding one of the two main conventions: International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. But that didn’t stop us (U.S.) from rendering judgement on every country in the world. Except, of course, us (U.S.). So for now, it’s just as well to dismiss anything US State has to say about human rights in Poland or anywhere else since our criteria are quite narrow and selective.

    Klaudiuzs’ case is a legitimate matter for Europe to take up. They will if they know more about it. Limiting the broadcast to Polish language limits the exposure.

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