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Poland26 June 2007

Regional weekly editor told he will have to serve three-month prison sentence

Reporters Without Borders condemns the decision, announced yesterday, that Andrzej Marek, the editor of the regional weekly Wiesci Polickie, will have to serve a three-month prison sentence for allegedly libelling an official in the city of Police in a February 2001 article headlined “Encouraging sharp practices.”

The three-month jail term, passed in November 2002 and upheld on appeal in November 2003, carried the proviso that it would be suspended if Marek apologised, but he has always refused to do this. The sentence was not implemented because of a pardon issued by the previous president. However, the pardon was subsequently withdrawn.

“We regret having to appeal again to the Polish authorities not to jail Marek, whose transfer to Szczecin prison in the northwest of the country is due to take place on 29 June,” Reporters Without Borders said.

Marek challenged the legality of article 212 of the criminal code under the Constitution in an appeal to the constitutional court, Poland’s highest court, but it ruled against him on 30 October. He announced yesterday he will appeal to European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg as he has no further possibility of appeal in Poland.

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