Feb 17, 2021 @ 11:36

Court fines Polish heavy metal frontman for disrespecting Virgin Mary

A Polish court on Tuesday ordered the frontman of heavy metal band Behemoth to pay a fine for posting a picture of a foot stepping on an image of the Virgin Mary.

Adam Darski, known as “Nergal”, was found guilty of insulting religious feelings and ordered to pay a fine of 15,000 zloty (3,336 euros, $4,040).

The court in Warsaw also ordered the well-known musician to pay court costs of 3,500 zloty.

Poland’s law against insulting religious feelings has drawn criticism in this and other cases for limiting freedom of expression.

Darski has objected to the ruling and there will therefore be a trial, Poland’s PAP news agency reported, quoting the musician’s lawyer.

Darski posted the picture on Facebook in 2019.

An investigation into the post was started following complaints by two ultra-conservative groups, Ordo Iuris and the Patriotic Society.

Darski has attracted controversy before, including for ripping up a copy of the Bible during a concert.

His band, which was formed in 1991, is well known for using pagan and satanic imagery and is considered to belong to the “extreme metal” genre. One of their most famous albums is called “The Satanist”.

If found guilty in a trial, Darski could face up to two years in prison.

Several other cases have also made the headlines, including one in the town of Plock where three gay rights activists are currently on trial for holding up a poster of the Virgin Mary with a halo in the colours of the rainbow flag.

Poland is a predominantly Catholic country and the ruling Law and Justice (PiS) party’s policies are strongly in line with Catholic teachings.

A Constitutional Court ruling last year imposed a near-total ban on abortion except in cases of rape, incest and when the mother’s health is in danger, sparking nationwide protests.

Agence France-Presse

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