Friday, July 11, 2008

Art vandal Polish MEP's diplomatic immunity

The European Parliament has decided to waive the diplomatic immunity of Polish MEP Witold Tomczak, accused of destroying a work of art in a gallery in Warsaw worth 40,000 zloty.

The art work in question was a statue of Pope John Paul II being crushed by a meteor.

The decision to waive Tomczak's immunity was first made on 25 June by a European Parliament committee. The MEPs have now formally confirmed it by an overwhelming majority during a session in Strasbourg.

Tomczak destroyed "La Nona Ora" by Maurizio Cattelan when it was on display at the Zacheta gallery in Warsaw in 2000. The politician, who then belonged to the catholic-nationalist League of Polish Families (LPR), came into the gallery and removed the art work, resulting in the statue's leg falling off.

The work of art was then withdrawn from the exhibition.

Tomczak explained that he did it in the name of his beliefs and that his voters expected him to do so.

This is the second time that the European Parliament has agreed to waive Tomczak's immunity - the first time in February. Tomczak was then charged with insulting police officers in 1999 and breaking traffic regulations.