Husband and wife who took explosives to Pride get just one year in prison

Husband and wife who took explosives to Pride get just one year in prison

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A court in Poland has sentenced a straight married couple for bringing homemade explosive devices to LGBT+ Pride in Lublin last year.

Police stopped the pair on the day of the parade, 28 September 2019. They found they were carrying improvised explosives they had made from items including gas canisters and fireworks.

But the court only gave the couple one year in jail. That’s because prosecutors decided not to charge them with terrorism.

Even then, the court could have sentenced them for up to eight years. But the couple pleaded guilty and their lawyers requested a one year sentence. In turn, the judge and prosecutors agreed.

Polish law means the pair are not fully identified and are just called Karolina S, aged 21, and Arkadiusz S, aged 27.

Experts analysed the devices and found they could have injured or even killed people within an eight-metre radius. Police also found a balaclava in the couple’s bag.

Arkadiusz confessed to making the explosives and said he had followed instructions online. But he told investigators he and his wife didn’t want to harm anyone, only to make a ‘big bang’.

But Arkadiusz did confirm he was strongly anti-LGBT+ and against Pride marches. In particular he used the phrase ‘a boy, a girl – a normal family’ which is typical in Poland. Moreover he wore a Celtic cross, which is popular among the far-right in the country.

Tear gas and water cannons to hold back haters

The Pride event last September saw around 200 people stage a counter demonstration. They attempted to block the route and to pelt the Pride marchers with eggs.

In response, riot police held back the protestors using water cannons and used tear gas to disperse them. And they arrested dozens of the far-right activists, including Karolina and Arkadiusz.

It came amid a growing level of hate in Poland, much of it stirred up by the Archbishop of Krakow and the Law and Justice Party (PiS).

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Author: Tris Reid-Smith