Outcry in Poland as case against gallows protest dropped

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WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Prosecutors in southern Poland faced criticism Tuesday for dropping a case against a group of far-right activists who in 2017 strung photos on makeshift gallows of six liberal Polish European Parliament members.

Critics and the lawmakers involved condemned the decision by Katowice prosecutors as politically motivated and stressed that the prosecutor general, Zbigniew Ziobro, is also the justice minister and a prominent member of Poland’s ruling right-wing government.

They recalled the assassination this year of Gdansk’s liberal mayor amid a hate campaign against him on state media.

Roza Thun, whose picture was among those used, said she and the others will appeal.

“It shows that the prosecutors are to an extreme degree under political influence,” she said in Strasbourg, France. “This is very dangerous.”

In their public stunt in 2017, about a dozen right-wing nationalists sought to use the gallows reference to condemn the actions of the liberal politicians in the European Parliament.

They said the politicians acted against Poland’s interests when they criticized changes that the ruling Law and Justice party was introducing to Poland’s justice system. The European Union says the changes eroded the independence of judges and prosecutors.

Katowice prosecutors said the “enactment” was not criminal, but an expression of views done in a way that should be condemned in moral terms.

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