BEHEMOTH Frontman Faces Second Trial In Bible-Tearing Case
January 8, 2013
According to Polskie Radio, BEHEMOTH frontman Adam "Nergal" Darski faces a second trial in Poland on charges he insulted religious sentiment when he called the Catholic Church "the most murderous cult on the planet" during the band's September 2007 performance in Gdynia and tore up a copy of the Bible, calling it "a book of lies."
A district court in Gdansk Tuesday overruled an earlier judgment that Darski was expressing artistic freedom during the concert.
Video footage of today's ruling can be seen below.
The European Commission last fall said that Poland's prosecution of Darski for "blasphemy" is against European values.
In a statement released last October, it said that "national blasphemy laws are a matter for the domestic legal order of the member states."
It cited the European Convention Of Human Rights, a Poland-signatory treaty attached to the Strasbourg-based rights watchdog, the Council of Europe, on freedom of expression.
"This right protects not only information or ideas that are favorably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also those that offend, shock or disturb," the commission said.
Back in August 2011, a Polish judge ruled that Darski's ripping up of a Bible during a show was a form of artistic expression consistent with the style of his band.
Judge Krzysztof Wieckowski said he considered Darski's actions "a form of art." He added that the court had no intention of limiting freedom of expression or the right to criticize religion.
The court said audience members who testified said their religious feelings had not been hurt despite the fact they were Christians.
The crime carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail.
After the 2007 incident, Ryszard Nowak, chairman of the privately run Nationwide Defence Committee Against Sects, sued BEHEMOTH for promoting Satanism. Although a court expert witness on religious matters said that the act of destroying the Holy Bible could offend somebody's religious feelings, the case was discontinued because no one except Nowak accused BEHEMOTH of insulting their religious beliefs. (Under Polish law, there must be at least two formal complaints before a charge is laid. The previous complaint was made in 2008, and an unspecified number of other complaints had subsequently been filed.)
In a 2009 interview with Decibel magazine, BEHEMOTH bassist Tomasz "Orion" Wróblewski explained that the Bible-tearing incident was by no means a spontaneous outburst. "We'd been doing that for two years on tour before it happened in Poland," he said. "So, we had discussed it many times before. A BEHEMOTH show is a BEHEMOTH show, and BEHEMOTH fans are coming to a BEHEMOTH show. BEHEMOTH fans know what BEHEMOTH is about, know what the lyrics are about, and know at least a little of the philosophy behind the band. So, 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."
Video footage of today's court ruling:
Interview with Nergal's attorney after today's ruling:
Ryszard Nowak speaks after today's court ruling:
BEHEMOTH's Adam "Nergal" Darski tearing up the Bible:
BLABBERMOUTH.NET uses the Facebook Comments plugin to let people comment on content on the site using their Facebook account. The comments reside on Facebook servers and are not stored on BLABBERMOUTH.NET. To comment on a BLABBERMOUTH.NET story or review, you must be logged in to an active personal account on Facebook. Once you're logged in, you will be able to comment. User comments or postings do not reflect the viewpoint of BLABBERMOUTH.NET and BLABBERMOUTH.NET does not endorse, or guarantee the accuracy of, any user comment. To report spam or any abusive, obscene, defamatory, racist, homophobic or threatening comments, or anything that may violate any applicable laws, use the "Report to Facebook" and "Mark as spam" links that appear next to the comments themselves. To do so, click the downward arrow on the top-right corner of the Facebook comment (the arrow is invisible until you roll over it) and select the appropriate action. You can also send an e-mail to blabbermouthinbox(@)gmail.com with pertinent details. BLABBERMOUTH.NET reserves the right to "hide" comments that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate and to "ban" users that violate the site's Terms Of Service. Hidden comments will still appear to the user and to the user's Facebook friends. If a new comment is published from a "banned" user or contains a blacklisted word, this comment will automatically have limited visibility (the "banned" user's comments will only be visible to the user and the user's Facebook friends).