Poland: Man who shouted "Kill him!" to attackers of Syrian immigrant sentenced to community service
A court in Poznan, Poland has handed down a sentence of two years' community service to a 22-year-old Polish man who shouted "Kill him!" at two violent thugs who were beating up an immigrant from Syria in the center of that city. Newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza reported that Zygmunt W. was found co-responsible for the victim's injuries even though he did not physically attack him, because he incited the assailants to do so.
The defense said it was considering whether to appeal. The prosecution has expressed satisfaction with the verdict "as a warning to others who might want to commit a similar crime."
George Mamlouk (age 31) was beaten up last November in front of a shopping center, where three men first cursed him and threatened to kill him before two of them beat him until his nose was broken and both of his eyes and one knee were injured. The two perpetrators of the physical violence were previously convicted without trial after admitting their guilt, expressing regret, and voluntarily accepting their punishment.
The third defendant, Zygmunt W., admitted to having been present in front of the shopping center at the time but did not confess his role in the violence. Mamlouk, however, testified to his role in court as follows: "I recognize his face. He was wearing a suit. I thought such an elegantly-dressed person would try to prevent the attack, but he was inciting them. He watched and shouted."
Judge Tomasz Borowczak said Mamlouk's testimony was believable and corresponded to the testimony of passers-by as well as the other assailants. "This was a gratuitous attack, the perceived faith of the victim does not rationalize it," the judge said.
The attackers testified that at the time they assaulted the Syrian man they believed he was a Muslim. He is actually a Catholic, like most Poles.
During sentencing, the judge took into account the fact that Zygmunt W. had no prior criminal record. For the next two years he will have to perform 40 hours of community service per month.
Zygmunt W. is also expected to compensate Mamlouk 3 000 Polish zloty (approximately EUR 700). When Mamlouk was attacked, none of the passers-by who witnessed the violence stood up for the Syrian victim.
After the incident happened, a demonstration of solidarity with the assaulted immigrant was held in front of the shopping center. The Mayor of Poznan, Jacek Jaśkowiak, visited the injured man in hospital together a Catholic Archbishop and apologized to him for the racist attack.
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