Far-right MP charged over attack on Jewish ceremony in Polish parliament

Far-right MP Grzegorz Braun has been charged by prosecutors over an incident in which he attacked a Jewish ceremony taking place in parliament by using a fire extinguisher to put out Hannukah candles.

As well as that alleged crime of insulting a religious group – which carries a potential prison sentence – Braun has been hit with further charges relating to other incidents, including one in which he disrupted a lecture by a Polish-Jewish Holocaust scholar.

Members of Poland’s parliament have legal immunity from prosecution, but that can be removed at the request of prosecutors if a majority of MPs agree. MPs from every parliamentary group apart from Braun’s own Confederation (Konfederacja) supported stripping him of immunity.

Szymon Banna, a spokesman for the district prosecutor’s office in Warsaw confirmed to the Polish Press Agency (PAP) that they have now formally issued charges against Braun. He added that the MP had not pleaded guilty to the offences.

One of the charges is for the crime of insulting a group of people due to their religious affiliation. Others are for damaging property at the Holocaust lecture and during a separate incident in which Braun removed a Christmas tree from a courthouse because it was decorated with EU and LGBT+ flags.

The MP has also been charged with violating the physical integrity of former health minister Łukasz Szumowski, of using violence to force him to behave in a certain manner, and of slandering him.

Those charges relate to an incident in 2022 during which Braun led a group that forced its way into the National Institute of Cardiology, which Szumowski is the director of. Szumowski said that Braun attacked him and falsely accused him of being under the influence of alcohol.

His actions were condemned by politicians from across the political spectrum, including both the current ruling coalition and the main opposition Law and Justice (PiS) party.


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