Polish court fines editor for insulting Pope

.- A Polish editor, who used to speak for the country's former communist rulers in the 1980s, was fined $8,500 yesterday for insulting the Pope in an article. A Polish court also gave him a suspended 10-month prison sentence, calling his article a "deliberate and tactical move and a measured provocation."

Just before Pope John Paul II visited Poland in 2002, Jerzy Urban, editor of controversial weekly Nie (No), called the Pope "a senile man" who should "go to bed, pick his nose ... or gobble caviar."

The article, titled “The walking sadomasochist,” compared the 84-year-old Pope with former Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev, whose last years were plagued by ill health, with doctors struggling to keep him alive and prime him for occasional public appearances. He died in office in 1982.

Urban said he would appeal the verdict. Reporters Sans Frontiers has criticized the court for violating the principles of freedom of speech.


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