Poland’s parliament votes to lift immunity of far-right lawmaker who extinguished Hanukkah candles

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Poland’s lawmakers voted Wednesday to lift the immunity of a far-right colleague who used a fire extinguisher to put out Hanukkah candles during a ceremony in parliament last month.

The vote means that the Confederation party lawmaker, Grzegorz Braun, can face charges.

If convicted of destruction of property, insulting a religious symbol and hurting a person he could face up to five years in prison. Prosecutors want to present Braun with seven counts that also apply to earlier incidents of alleged aggression against the former health minister and public property.

Lawmakers voted to lift immunity on each of the seven counts.

The incident last month was an embarrassment to the new parliament, which was in its first session following October elections, and to the new pro-European Union government that would be sworn in the next day.

During a Hanukkah ceremony, Braun grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the menorah candles. A member of the Jewish community was sprayed and hurt in the incident and hospitalized.

Minutes later, Braun made a brief statement from the parliament lectern while the leader of his party, Krzysztof Bosak, was presiding. The party later condemned Braun’s statement.

The lawmakers on Wednesday voted to allow Bosak to keep his position of deputy parliament speaker, saying the party should be represented at that level, but the vast majority abstained or did not take part in the vote.

The Hanukkah ceremony was peacefully repeated two days later, with the participation of President Andrzej Duda, in a sign that antisemitism would not be allowed.

Braun was fined by parliament authorities in December.

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