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This Poster Could Trigger 2 Years in Prison

Polish woman is arrested for putting up images
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2019 6:10 PM CDT
One of the posters.   (Amnesty International)

(Newser) – Polish authorities have arrested a woman for putting up posters of the Virgin Mary and Jesus surrounded by LGBT-colored flag halos, CNN reports. Elzbieta Podlesna, 51, was collared after coming home from a trip abroad with Amnesty International on Monday, at which point authorities confiscated her cellphone and laptop and apparently found dozens of the multicolored Virgin Mary images, per the Guardian. The posters had popped up overnight in the city of Plock in April. "Telling stories about freedom and 'tolerance' doesn't give anyone the right to offend the feelings of believers," tweeted Polish interior minister Joachim Brudzinski, who called them examples of "cultural barbarism."

But Podlesna defended her altered images of the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, one of Poland's most revered icons. "This is certainly not an attack on religion, certainly not an attack on faith, this is not a form of attack," she said, per the AP. "How can you attack anyone using a picture, let's be serious." Behind all this is a broader struggle between human-rights activists and Poland's conservative government. Podlesna was among 14 women attacked by protesters while holding up a "Stop Fascism" banner in Warsaw in 2017, per Amnesty International, and now faces up to two years in prison for offending religious feelings. Government critics and activists protested her arrest on Tuesday. (Meanwhile, a stolen Virgin Mary statue turned up in an odd place.)

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