“They are trying to intimidate us”: Polish activists sued for exposing LGBTI Free Zones

Ordi Iuris, the Polish ultraconservative organisation, announced that they will legally represent 5 LGBTI Free Zones in a court case against the LGBTI activist that revealed them. Ordo Iuris has close connections to the Polish conservative government, who has over the last years made the judiciary less independent from the government.

Jakub Gawron: “They are trying to intimidate us. But I am not afraid anymore. At a Pride last year I was thrown firecrackers at me. And people say they want to send me to the gas chambers.”

Jakub Gawron is part of a team of three who made the Atlas of Hate – a digital database listing all the municipalities, regions and provinces adopting anti-LGBTI resolutions. 

Several counties (Opoczno, Tarnów, Przasnysz, Przysucha and Gromadka) are now suing the three activists because they listed them in the Atlas Of Hate. They are demanding public apologies from the activists for a statement in the European Parliament condemning the LGBTI Free Zones and a financial compensation of 24.000 USD to be deposited to “pro-family organisations”. 

“We listed them in the Atlas of Hate for adopting a Regional Family Charter which recommends to exclude social groups which define family in a broader sense than husband and wife. So implicitly they banned groups fighting for marriage equality of taking part in local fund program, public tasks, using public property, etc.”

Rule of law in Poland

Since the Law & Justice Party (PiS) is in power, Poland experienced a huge decline in the rule of law and the judicial independence. Only last February, Polish President Andrzej Duda signed a new, globally criticised, law preventing Polish law to be subordinate to European law and rulings from the European Court of Justice. “Whenever Polish judges apply EU law they face suspension, fines, salary cuts and dismissal.”, political scientist Rémy Bonny explains. 

“Poland’s judiciary is not independent and many of the newly appointed judges are allies of the Law & Justice Party (PiS). LGBTI-activist have a constant fear for persecution in Poland”, Bonny concludes. 

In May 2019, the Polish Interior Minister brought an Amnesty activist to court over a depiction of the Holy Mother with a rainbow halo. 

Ordo Iuris

“The court trial is initiated and financed by Ordo Iuris, an ultraconservative think-tank with links to the Polish government, American Alt-Right and Russian oligarchs. The events that we’ve seen happening in Poland in the last year, have been internationally coordinated through organisations like the World Congress of Families. Ordo Iuris serves as a link between the Polish government and the global anti-LGBTI movement.”, according to Bonny, who revealed detailed links between Ordo Iuris and the global right in October last year. 

Ordo Iuris was the organisation behind the attempt to entirely ban abortion in Poland in 2016. An attempt that led to a huge Women Strike in the country. 

International LGBTI Help

The international LGBTI-community can help the local activists by taking a picture of themselves with the sentence “I support Jakub (or Kuba), Paulina & Pawel! #HeroicTrio”.

“We also call upon the councillors and deputies of regions and cities who have an international  partnership to use this partnership to pressure their Polish counterparts to withdraw from the LGBTI Free Zones.”, Jakub concludes.

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