Adam Darski, lead singer of Behemoth, is facing up to two years in prison for tearing up a Bible on stage. Poland's supreme court has ruled that the singer offended religious feelings.
Adam Darski tore up a Bible and called the Catholic Church a "criminal sect" at a concert in 2007.
Poland's supreme court was called upon to rule on legal arguments thrown up by the case in the lower courts, where Darski was cleared in 2011 by Judge Krzysztof Wieckowski. The supreme court's ruling that Darski did in fact offend religious feelings of others, even if he had no intention to do so and none of his audience was offended, re-opens the case.
As Loudwire points out, Poland's penal code states:
Whoever offends religious feeling of other people by publicly insulting an object of religious cult or a place for public holding of religious ceremonies, is subject to a fine, restriction of liberty or loss of liberty for up to two years.
The supreme court's interpretation that Darski knew his actions might offend thus exposes him to up to two years' imprisonment.
Darski's lawyer told Reuters, the decision "is negative and restricts the freedom of speech."
In a clear reference to the fact that the group's fans know what to expect from a performance, the band's bassist, Tomasz ‘Orion’ Wroblewski, told Decibel magazine (reports Blabbermouth) in 2009:
It’s kind of surprising that there are people coming to the shows and feeling offended with what we do onstage. If such a person comes to a show, he comes with the purpose of being offended, I guess, and it shouldn’t be like that. We’re not offending any particular person. We’re just offending the religion that we’ve been raised in.
Darski, as the Guardian reports, called the Catholic Church "immature" and accused it of attempting to deny freedom of speech.