Tuesday February 27, 2024
European Parliament strips 4 Polish MEPs of immunity
Published : 10 Nov 2023, 01:39
The European Parliament voted on Thursday to lift the immunity of four Polish members (MEPs) who are accused in their home country of violating hate crime laws, reported Xinhua.
The four -- Beata Kempa, Beata Mazurek, Patryk Jaki and Tomasz Poreba -- are members of Poland's conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party. They face allegations lodged by Rafal Gawel, a left-wing Polish activist, who was previously convicted of embezzlement in his home country but claimed that he was the victim of a politicized justice system.
The charges against the four MEPs were linked to the retweeting or liking of a PiS election spot on social media during the 2018 local elections. The video focused on the purported dangers associated with a surge of irregular immigrants to Europe, connecting "enclaves of Muslim refugees" to instances of sexual assaults and violent attacks. Furthermore, it suggested that a government led by the Civic Coalition, the largest opposition group in Poland, would result in an influx of migrants, causing residents to be "afraid to go out on the streets after dark."
In November 2021, Gawel accused the four of "committing racist crimes in Poland" and submitted a subsidiary indictment. Subsequently, a court judge requested the European Parliament to waive the MEPs' immunities.
"We are neither surprised nor shocked by this decision. We are moving on, continuing our work; we are not limited in any way. We will certainly not succumb to such pressure and become intimidated or limited in our political activity," Mazurek, one of the MEPs, said on Thursday in response to the decision.
The lifting of immunity does not imply the guilt of the MEPs. It merely enables the national judicial authorities to conduct proceedings. MEPs can retain their mandate after the lifting of immunity.