Where death threats go unpunished
If you don’t punish people for issuing death threats, said Janusz Schwertner, eventually someone will get killed. In Poland, that someone was Gdansk Mayor Pawel Adamowicz, who was stabbed to death at a charity event last month by a man shouting against the mayor’s former party, the liberal Civic Platform (PO). In June 2017, Adamowicz and 10 other big-city mayors issued a plea for tolerance of immigrants and refugees, appealing to Poland’s multicultural history. The ultranationalist group All-Polish Youth responded by posting on Facebook realistic-looking death certificates, complete with photos and personal data, for each of the 11 mayors. Adamowicz contacted the police, yet the Gdansk prosecutor’s office refused to bring charges—and that’s a pattern. When fascists set up a gallows in the city of Katowice with photos of six Polish PO members in the European Parliament, no action was taken against them. And when an official with the ruling nationalist Law and Justice party, Karol Wyszynski, tweeted approvingly, “Get a gallows and hang the whole PO,” he wasn’t charged with incitement. In fact, since Law and Justice took office in 2015, prosecutors have argued for the dismissal of all “high-profile cases related to the actions of the extreme right.” How many more will be killed?