© Agencja Gazeta / Wojciech Nekanda Trepka

Man Who Burned Jewish Effigy Gets Reduced Jail Term

The man who burned an effigy of a Jew during an anti-islamification protest last November has had his sentence cut from 10 months in prison to just 3.

Piotr Rybak, an important figure in the Wroclaw division of the ultra right-wing group ONR, was originally charged under article 256 paragraph 1 of the criminal code, which relates to the public incitement of hatred based on national, ethnic, racial and religious differences.

During court proceedings that took place in 2015, it was alleged that Piotr Rybak remained silent and refused to answer questions. He did however release a statement that claimed "he had no intention of offending anyone".

At later court hearings the defendant then went on to claim that the effigy was not meant to represent Jewish people as a whole but rather billionaire George Soros, a man Rybak blames for various happenings in the world today (see some of the conspiracy theories here). 

During the protest at the centre of the case, which was organised by the National Radical Camp and All-Polish Youth, participants shouted out chants such as "Not Islamic, not secular, but Polish Catholic!", "Poland free from Islam" and "Islam out of the Polish party."

Later, an effigy of a Jewish man carrying an EU flag was set ablaze at the demonstration. Why? Allegedly because some of the protesters believe in a conspiracy that a Zionist plot has been hatched to send refugees to Europe as part of a plan for a greater Israel. It was also thought that the Jewish effigy was intended to represent the group's opposition to the actions of 'European elites'. 

After the manifestation many people, including Wroclaw President Rafal Dutkiewicz, filed a complaint to the city prosecutor. To aid with the investigation, Wroclaw magistrate also gave police a recording of the CCTV footage that captured the event.

Ahead of Rybak's sentencing in November, the defence pleaded for community sentence, however the judge considered that punishment to be insufficient – meaning Wroclaw's ONR figurehead was set to spend 10 months behind bars.

However an appeal was lodged and now the punishment has been reduced to only 3 months. ONR torch bearer Rybak, who turned up to court yesterday with a Poland flag tied around his neck, was nonetheless still furious at having to do jail time.

Speaking to the media after the case, Rybak branded the decision "disgraceful" and claimed that the judge "doesn't know shit". He also said that he wasn't suprised by the verdict because "for 27 years Poland has been governed by Judeo-communists." When the verdict on sentencing was read out, Rybak's supporters chanted "God, Honor and Fatherland" and "Overrule the judge!"

About Gregor Gowans

Gregor Gowans
The founder and editor of Wroclaw Uncut, Gregor has been running the website since its inception in 2012. A Wroclawian for almost 10 years, Gregor writes on a wide variety of topics including, food & drink, nightlife, local news and politics. He is also a regular guest on Radio Ram's Sunday lunch programme.