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Woman faces jail in Poland over rainbow halo Virgin Mary posters

Woman faces jail in Poland over rainbow halo Virgin Mary posters

This is the image that could send a LGBTI advocate to jail for two years | Photo: Handout

A LGBTI activist faces jail in Poland after putting up posters featuring the Virgin Mary with a rainbow halo.

Police arrested Elżbieta Podleśna on suspicion of offending religious sentiment.

Posters began appearing of the Black Madonna of Częstochowa altered to fight for LGBTI equality.

The 51-year-old was arrested immediately as she returned from abroad.

Podleśna had been in Belgium for an advocacy tour with Amnesty International.

Police searched Podleśna’s home and found several dozen posters. Her laptop, mobile phone and memory cards were also confiscated.

She said she was also aware of police surveillance and learned the police requested a CCTV camera from the building where she resides.

LGBTI advocate arrested for ‘offending religious believers’ in Poland

Poland's LGBTI community are not being protected by authorities
Poland’s LGBTI community are not being protected by authorities. | Photo: Wiki

The image, considered a revered Byzantine icon, resigns in Poland’s holiest Catholic shrine of Jasna Góra.

Offending religious feeling is a crime under the Polish penal code. If convicted, the woman could face a prison sentence of up to two years.

A Lambda Warsaw spokesperson said they were ‘outraged’.

‘An independent demonstration on this matter will take place today (7 May),’ a spokesperson told Gay Star News.

‘Because there are several such cases on a daily basis, we do not have time to react. We do not have enough resources to be able to act as much as we would like.’

The oldest LGBTI rights charity hoped the arrest was just an attempt to intimidate LGBTI people.

‘Cultural barbarism’

Interior minister Joachim Brudziński described the posters as ‘cultural barbarism’.

He said: ‘Telling stories about “freedom” and “tolerance” doesn’t give anyone the right to offend the feelings of believers.’

Poland’s ruling right-wing Law and Justice party has ramped up the homophobia in recent months.

LGBTI activists believe this is to do with the upcoming European and Polish parliament elections.

‘We are dealing with a direct attack on the family and children – the sexualization of children, that entire LGBT movement, gender,’ said the PiS leader, Jarosław Kaczyński, speaking to supporters last month.

‘This is imported, but they today actually threaten our identity, our nation, its continuation and therefore the Polish state.

‘Given the lack of evidence of a crime here, we can only see that Elżbieta has been detained for her peaceful activism. Amnesty International calls on the Polish authorities to stop harassing peaceful protesters and activists in Poland, including by arbitrarily arresting people who stand up for their rights. Restricting activists from freely expressing their views in the country is unlawful and must stop immediately.”

See also

Mayor of Warsaw becomes first to protect rights of LGBTI people in Poland

Polish leader calls LGBTI rights a ‘foreign import that threatens nation’

Art looted by Nazis returned to Poland with help of same-sex couple