A Warsaw court ruled on Tuesday that two historians tarnished the memory of a Polish villager in a book about the Holocaust and must apologize, in a case some academics warn could deter impartial research into Poland’s actions during World War Two. More than seven decades on, the conflict remains a live political issue in Poland.
New anti-government protests broke out in Polish cities Wednesday, shortly after the country’s top court confirmed its highly divisive ruling that will further tighten the predominantly Catholic nation’s strict anti-abortion law. Opposition parties strongly criticized the move by the Constitutional Tribunal, following which the ruling will come into effect once it’s printed — later Wednesday or early Thursday — in the official government gazette.
Protests gathered across Poland after the Constitutional Tribunal ruled on Thursday that abortion due to foetal defects was unconstitutional, banning the most common of the few legal grounds for ending a pregnancy in the largely Catholic country. After the ruling goes into effect, abortion will only be permissible in Poland in the case of rape, incest or a threat to the mother’s health and life, which make up only about 2% of legal terminations conducted in recent years.
Pawel Adamowicz, mayor of the Polish city of Gdansk, was stabbed in the heart in front of a crowd of thousands at a Warsaw concert for charity. The attacker, a 27-year-old man, shouted that he was doing it for political revenge. The attacker ran onto the stage with a knife and stabbed Adamowicz in the heart and abdomen, the Associated Press reports. He was resuscitated and rushed to a hospital where he underwent five hours of surgery. One of the doctors treating him told reporters he was in “very serious condition.”
A measure was passed in the lower house of Polish Parliament, Friday, to make it illegal to call Poland responsible for crimes committed in the country during the Holocaust, sparking a critical response from Israeli lawmakers, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Polish defenders of the legislation claim it proposes indicating German responsibility for the Holocaust.
Poland signed a $4.75 billion deal with the US on Wednesday to buy Raytheon Co’s (RTN.N) Patriot missile defense system. The largest arms procurement in Poland’s history is meant to modernize forces amid strained relations with Russia. The acquisition of the ‘state-of-the-art’ defenses will allow Poland to coordinate operations with its NATO allies.
At least five people, including two children, have died and more than 100 have been injured during a sudden thunderstorm in Poland and Slovakia’s Tatra mountains, according to rescuers. Most of the victims were in Poland, where lightning struck a metal cross atop Mount Giewont as well as a metal chain near the summit, according to local media.
The highest court in the EU ruled on Monday that Poland must ‘immediately suspend’ a law forcing Supreme Court judges over 65 years of age to retire. Critics of the right-wing law claim it was an attempt to exert more control over the judiciary. The law was introduced in April and met by widespread protests.
Poland altered a months old law which made it illegal to accuse the Polish nation of complicity in the Holocaust, following global criticism for whitewashing history and undermining free speech. Poland voted to soften the law by eliminating criminal penalties for violators. Polish President Andrzej Duda signed the revised measure into law on Wednesday.
Poland should immediately suspend the powers of a Supreme Court chamber created to discipline judges since it is not independent and thereby in breach of EU law, the European Union’s top court ruled on Wednesday. The decision comes as a blow to Poland and its ruling euroskeptic Law and Justice party (PiS), which has been at odds with the EU’s executive arm, over its judiciary reforms since it took power in 2015.