A Polish court has ruled that it is fine to call the country’s president a “moron” on social media – and a man who did that, author Jakub Zulczyk, will not go to prison for up to three years.
The lawsuit was filed by a private person rather than President Andrzej Duda himself or the authorities. In the Facebook post, published in the wake of the 2020 US election, Zulczyk wrote, “(…) Joe Biden is the 46th president of the United States. Andrzej Duda is a moron.”
The post came in response to a tweet by Duda who appeared hesitant to congratulate Biden on becoming the new president – instead congratulating him on a successful campaign, and noting that Poland was now waiting for the Electoral College to “nominate” him.
Zulczyk then took to Facebook to blast Duda as a “moron” for suggesting such a process exists in the US electoral system. In the US, the writer also said, it is news agencies that “announce” who’s won the election.
“I have never heard of a ‘nomination by the Electoral College’ in the US election process. Biden won… The president-elect in the US is ‘announced’ by news agencies, there is no central body or office that does it… Joe Biden is the 46th president of the United States. Andrzej Duda is a moron,” the post that got Zulczyk sued reads in its entirety.
Even though Poland’s criminal code states that insulting the president in public is punishable with up to three years in prison, the court took the position that “social harm” from Zulczyk’s Facebook post was negligible, while his criticism of Duda was legitimate.
The prosecution is waiting to receive the ruling in writing before deciding whether to appeal, while Zulczyk spoke to the press to thank his lawyer and his supporters, announcing that the case has been discontinued, and describing himself as innocent.
Previously, while appearing before the court, he said that the reason for calling Duda a “moron” was not to humiliate him, but to offer criticism of what he said was “very unreasonable behavior.”
Media reports out of Poland interpret this to mean that Duda and the country’s government were not happy with the outcome of the US election. This was the reason Duda was careful to choose his words while “congratulating” Biden only on his campaign, they say.