As reported earlier this week, Poland’s Supreme Court opened the way on Monday for a blasphemy verdict against BEHEMOTH frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski, who tore up a Bible on stage during a concert in 2007, a case that has pitted deep Catholic traditions against a new desire for free expression.
Nergal has issued the following statement: “As some of u know, I’ve been battling this bullshit for a few years now. Things are getting more serious and… dangerous. Anyway, looks like freethinking wins over obscurity in the end. If not in Poland, at least in Europe… Read and share. Wanted to thank u for all the words of support and encouragement. This means everything to me. Onward to victory! Hail Freedom!”
During the incident about the Christian holy book, Nergal called it deceitful and described the Roman Catholic church as “a criminal sect”.
His supporters say it was an act of artistic expression, but conservatives say he offended the sensibilities of Catholics in Poland, the homeland of the late Pope John Paul II and one of the religion’s most devout heartlands in Europe.
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.
“(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.
Video of the Bible-tearing incident can be seen HERE.