Poland: Activists at risk of 10-year jail term for COVID-19 poster campaign challenging government statistics

Charges brought by Polish authorities against two activists who face possible prison sentences of up to 10 years for a poster campaign should be immediately dropped said, Amnesty International.

The activists were detained overnight on Monday and Tuesday respectively and charged yesterday, after they put up posters in Warsaw accusing the government of manipulating COVID-19 statistics. They were charged with “theft and burglary” for removing the glass covering of advertisements on bus shelters to replace them with their own posters, despite not having taken anything with them.

“Threatening activists who simply stuck up posters with criminal proceedings that could lead to 10 years in prison is a blatant attempt intimidate and silence critical voices.”

“These charges are absurd and appear to be intended to punish those who express their criticism of the authorities. If they are not dismissed, they may have a chilling effect and create additional barriers to the vital work of human rights defenders in the country.”

“These strong-arm tactics are part of a wider pattern of harassment of protesters and activists in Poland.”