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Court rejects appeal against acquittal of trio for LGBT halo posters

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By Euronews with Reuters
Polish LGBT rights activists gather outside a court which acquitted three women who faced trial on accusations of desecration, in Plock, Poland, Tuesday March 2, 2021
Polish LGBT rights activists gather outside a court which acquitted three women who faced trial on accusations of desecration, in Plock, Poland, Tuesday March 2, 2021   -   Copyright  Credit: AP

A Polish court has thrown out an appeal against the acquittal of three women who were prosecuted over posters depicting the Virgin Mary with an LGBT halo, Amnesty International said.

The trio were initially charged with “offending religious beliefs” for possessing and distributing the posters.

In March last year, they were acquitted but prosecutors appealed that decision. But on Wednesday, a court threw out that appeal, according to Amnesty.

Article 196 of Poland’s penal code states that offending people’s religious feelings by publicly outraging an object or place of religious worship is a criminal offence.

The punishment would have been up to two years in prison if found guilty.

"Today’s decision comes as a huge relief but cannot disguise the fact that these three women should never have been put on trial in the first place. Distributing posters of the Virgin Mary wearing a rainbow halo should never be criminalised, so it is right that the appeal against their acquittal was rejected," said Catrinel Motoc, Amnesty International’s senior campaigner for Europe.

Gay rights have become a deeply divisive issue in predominantly Roman Catholic Poland. Religious conservatives condemn what they say is an "ideology" bent on destroying the traditional family while more liberal Poles demand tolerance and equal treatment of what they regard as an oppressed minority.