Four Polish members of the European Parliament had their EU immunity stripped so they could face hate speech charges over a 2018 campaign video about illegal immigration. The video was published by the Polish Law & Justice Party [PiS], Poland’s largest political party. Two of the MEPs are members of the PiS, and two are members of the Sovereign Party, which is part of the PiS-led alliance known as United Right.
None of the four MEPs were involved in creating the campaign ad. They only “liked” the video on Twitter.
In 2019, Polish far-wing activist Rafal Gawel wrote an indictment against members of the Law & Justice party. He is the head of the Center for Monitoring Racist and Xenophobic Behavior. Gawel was convicted of embezzlement in 2019 and fled to Norway to avoid prison. He was granted asylum in Norway, yet someone is allowed to continue participating in the Polish court system despite being a fugitive.
In many European countries, hate speech charges are usually initiated by activist groups, not law enforcement. Gawal first began trying to indict the Polsih MEPs in 2021. His first two attempts were dismissed. It looks like he found a friendly judge for his third attempt. Warsaw Judge Edyta Snastin-Jurkun allowed the case to move forward. The judge submitted the names of the four men to the European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs [JURI]. The committee voted in favor of stripping them of immunity. The parliament then voted 392 to 134 to strip them of their immunity.
— Prawo i Sprawiedliwość (@pisorgpl) October 17, 2018