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17th June 2020, 12:36:11 UTC

Activists risk jail for poster campaign.

On 10 June, two Polish activists were charged with ‘theft and burglary’ in relation to a poster campaign accusing the government of manipulating COVID-19 statistics.

On 8 June at around midnight, Anna was transferred in handcuffs to the police station for the 41 hours. The police waited until 10 June to interrogatee her and denied her access to her lawyer, who considers the entire treatment a form of harassment.

Anna is an outspoken human rights defender who has been taking part in protests in Poland since 2016. She has stood up in defence of women’s rights and helped develop a legal aid network for protesters in Poland.

On 9 June, a second activist was arrested in relation to the same poster campaign and placed in detention. He was released after 20 hours of police custody.

The activists replaced posters in bus shelters with posters alleging that the government manipulated statistics about COVID-19. The posters also depicted the Minister of Healthcare, Łukasz Szumowski, dressed as a Knight of Malta holding the sign “Gospel of Łukasz Sz.”, and listed allegations against him.

They could face up to 10 years in prison. The charges are baseless and appear to be intended to punish those who freely express their criticism of the authorities. The Polish authorities must drop the criminal charges against both activists and close the investigation.

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