Food Not Bombs activist detained in Poland


On Wed 9th of August, Krzysztof Wantoch-Rekowski - a longtime activist of the Polish Anarchist Federation and Food Not Bombs from Poznań - was detained by the police. He has been put into jail for six weeks for... destroying his identity card (article 276 of the Penal Code).

We are calling for expressions of solidarity with Krzysztof:
1. sending protest letters to the Ministry of Justice
2. sending solidarity letters to the prison where Krzysztof is being detained.

LINKS: Rozbrat | Food Not Bombs (pl) | Polish Anarchist Federation | Anarchist Information Centre | IMC Poland (pl)

Below is a sample of the letter to the Ministry:

I, signed below, protest against the detention of Krzysztof Wantoch-Rekowski - a longtime activist with the Polish Anarchist Federation from Poznan and Food Not Bombs group - in prison in Poznan. His sentence is unnecessarily harsh and illustrates the repressive character of the Polish state. I demand his immediate release!

Address of the Ministry of Justice:
Ministerstwo Sprawiedliwości
Al. Ujazdowskie 11
00-950 Warszawa, POLAND

Sygnatura akt (file signature): WK 1481/03/4

Solidarity letters to Krzysztof (postcards, letters, leaflets, newspapers, etc. please remember that all of them will be filtered by censors). Address of Krzysztof in prison:

Krzysztof Wantoch-Rekowski
AŚ Poznań
Młyńska 1
61-729 Poznań, POLAND

Anarchist Federation from Poland/Poznan
Anarchist Black Cross/ Poznan

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population prison population jumps 5% in 6 months

antirepression 17.Aug.2006 10:00

In the six months since the moderate fascist party PiS won presidential and parliamentary elections in Poland, the prison population has increased rapidly as promised by the right-wing parties prior to the election (PO: neoliberals, now in opposition; PiS: moderate fascists, relative majority; LPR: extreme fascists, LPR education minister Roman Giertych was the leader of a fascist youth group that throws stones at homosexuals; Samoobrona: populist hierarchical mix).

In late 2005, there were about 83,000 prisoners in Poland.

In mid 2006, there were about 87,000 prisoners in Poland.

Summary statistics:

Full details:

Poland presently has about 224 prisoners per 100,000 inhabitants - twice as high as UK/Germany, three-four times as high as France, Sweden, Denmark.

Prison population per 100,000 inhabitants
USA 725
Russia 713

Poland 224

UK 124
Canada 102
Germany 98
Italy 92
France 80
Sweden 64
Denmark 61
Iceland 29

Under PiS, Poland seems to be moving further and further away from European human rights standards, weak as they are, and more towards Russia-USA style social breakdown.

from Australia mate

Chris Ned Kelly 18.Aug.2006 11:58

6 weeks prison for destroying an ID card?

Is my history a bit rusty? Weren't the Communists kicked out of power in Poland?

Talk about a totalitarian Government in Poland!

They tried the ID card in 1985 here and we told the Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, to stick his ID card up his arse. Now he obviously did that because we never got it and Bob Hawke walks queerly to this day.

Krzysztof only stuck together his card, didn't destroy it

supporter 20.Aug.2006 20:53

> 6 weeks prison for destroying an ID card?

He didn't destroy his ID card, he was *charged* with destroying it. All he really did (according to the Anarchist Black Cross/Anarchist Federation report) was stick a sticker on it to stop it totally falling apart:


Krzysztof spędzi półtora miesiąca tylko dlatego, że podkleił "papierową ilustracją" swój rozpadający się ze starości dowód. Wyrobienie nowego kosztuje, nie każdego na to stać.

Old style Polish "ID cards" are really ID booklets. They look very much like passports, except that passports are made from tough, robust material which can reasonably be expected to last 5-10 years. Polish ID booklets (which is what we should probably call them) are made of paper/carton. You're expected to carry it around with you everywhere, so it's also fairly natural that it tends to fall apart from ordinary wear and tear.

I have personally witnessed a member of Polish security forces inspecting the ID booklet of a Polish activist I was with at an anti-racist action. The ID booklet was old and clearly falling apart. The guard made some sterning warning about this. In my head my reaction was "Well, what the fuck does that have to do with the price of fish? If the State produces shoddy quality ID booklets, then that's the State's fucking problem" but luckily I was sensible and didn't say this out loud. The activist I was with just tried to look humble and apologetic, the guard let us go without doing anything silly, and later on the activist explained to me that keeping your ID booklet in good condition - or paying to get a new one - was a legal obligation, punishable under criminal law if you fail to do this.

It's really kafkaesque: not only are you forced to carry this ID booklet around with you everywhere, but it's made of poor quality materials and when it starts falling apart and you don't want to spend the money on buying a new one, you risk being imprisoned.

> Is my history a bit rusty? Weren't the Communists kicked out of power in Poland?

They were, but a lot of their laws remain, and now the Fascists have been elected into power late last year (2005) and have decided to really use these "convenient" laws which didn't get removed from the law books. The main fascist party is called PiS (no kidding! they're not very good in exotic languages like English) and now they're in coalition with a smaller fascist party called LPR and a sort of left-right-authoritarian-countryside-populist party called Samoobrona.

Complaining on indymedia alone won't change much - if you want to support Polish activists, please send (paper) letters as mentioned above, do a demo in front of the Polish embassy in Canberra or the consulate in the city where you live, write about this on human rights blogs, maybe get help from local anti-ID-card groups (if they still exist in Australia) to campaign on this, try getting local mainstream media attention. The Polish government is aware that it's already got a bad reputation in Europe as homophobic and repressive - if it realises that there's a big international outcry against Krzysztof's imprisonment, it's going to be embarrassed and there's a realistic chance that Krzysztof would be released rapidly.

abc/french translation

DoDO 23.Aug.2006 07:03

amiEs francophones
pour envoyeEs vos cartes postales etc. il faudra un peu presser le pas
il ne restera en prison que SIX SEMAINES et non six mois....

Okay, then why is this worthy of support?

Frank 29.Aug.2006 12:54

Just asking why we should support some bloke who destroyed his passport? It probably had the intent to evade police identification for something he'd done, so until we know what he was up to, I'll absolutely refuse to support him.

Just because he's "one of us" doesn't suffice. What has he done, why and what has his passport to do with it?

Destroying official documents is a crime for a reason and if he'd cross that, I'd like to know what HIS reasons were.

Krzysztof did NOT destroy his identity paper

getting the facts straight 31.Aug.2006 22:44

Frank wrote:

> Just asking why we should support some bloke who destroyed
> his passport? It probably had the intent to evade police
> identification for something he'd done, so until we know
> what he was up to, I'll absolutely refuse to support him.

It's about Krzysztof's identity booklet (not passport), but more importantly, he did NOT destroy it. All he did was stick a sticker on it because it was falling to bits and he didn't want to lose bits of it. Since it was falling apart, he risked losing a page or two, in which case the cops could more reasonably have been concerned that he was trying to destroy it. So he simply used common sense and stuck something on the identity booklet so as to NOT lose any pages. And now he's in prison for trying to use a bit of common sense to help the authorities.

If the authorities make poor quality identity booklets out of paper which quickly falls apart due to routine wear and tear, then why should this be the fault of citizens? Since citizens are obliged to carry this around all the time, ordinary cardboard and paper get worn out pretty quickly. Either you leave your ID card at home and then get gaoled for not carrying it around with you, or you carry it around everywhere and get gaoled because it naturally falls apart.

People with regular salaries and stable living conditions can live up to this kafkaesque situation by regularly getting their id cards renewed (every few years), they have the money and a good place to keep all their administrative papers safe - and nowadays, the cards are much better quality - but people with zero or low incomes, who squat or live in temporary accomodation while providing food to people who need it and protest against mass murder have a different sense of priorities.

What's more important: food and opposing war, or satisfying the absurd rules of the authorities - who (as a system) are involved in starving people and in racist mass murder?

ID cards don't have to be carried all the time

polack 02.Oct.2009 06:21

> Since citizens are obliged to carry this around all the time,

This isn't true. It was true when Poland was Russia's colony (Polska Republika Ludowa) but not now. Statist oppressors can "legitimately" kidnap people when doubts exists with regard to their identity, but not just because of it. If someone's suspected of committing a crime on the street, they don't always arrest him, he can just show his ID and go his way. When I was a kid I talked my way out of being charged with drinking in public, I didn't even have my ID card with me, but my contact details appeared credible to the oppressors I suppose.

I know it's old news, but I don't want anyone to think that Poland is /that/ oppressive. It sucks, but it's no totalitarian state (by bourgeois democracy standards).