Polish parliament approves chemical castration for paedophiles
Warsaw — Poland’s parliament passed legislation Friday introducing obligatory chemical castration for convicted paedophiles and perpetrators of incest proposed by the country’s centrist-liberal government.
Under the new law, a court must rule on pharmacological treatment aimed at lowering the sex drive for convicted paedophiles or incest offenders prior to imprisonment or six months before their release from prison on probation.
The law was approved by an overwhelming majority of 400 with one vote against and two abstentions in Poland’s 460-seat lower house of parliament. The legislation must pass in the 100-seat senate or upper house and be signed by the president before taking effect.
In a raft of amendments to Poland’s criminal code, parliamentarians also introduced harsher sentences for convicted paedophiles and perpetrators of incest of a minimum three years behind bars.
The legislation also criminalises any attempt to justify paedophilia or any claims that sexual relations between adults and children are not harmful. Anyone convicted of propagating so-called "good paedophilia" is subject to a prison term of up to two years.
The same sentence applies to anyone attempting to seduce a minor under 15 years of age over the Internet.
The legislation passed Friday also criminalises the creation and dissemination of nude pictures or sexual activity of individuals over the Internet without their consent.
Liberal Prime Minister Donald Tusk first raised the controversial issue of chemical castration for convicted paedophiles in September 2008 after a 45-year-old man was charged with having raped and held his 21-year-old daughter captive for six years.
The young woman gave birth to two children, in 2005 and 2007, allegedly the result of having been raped by her father.
"I want … to introduce in Poland the most rigorous law possible regarding criminals who rape children," Tusk said, announcing the measures at the time.
In November 2008, Polish justice authorities also charged a 47-year-old HIV-positive man with endangering the life of a 15-year-old girl he seduced over the Internet.
Seven hundred cases of paedophilia are reported to police in Poland each year, according to Polish justice officials.
Poland’s southern EU neighbour the Czech Republic has voluntary chemical and surgical castration laws in place for sex offenders.
The Council of Europe’s anti-torture committee has urged Prague to end voluntary surgical castration.
Since 2000, around 300 Czech patients have undergone chemical castration, with around 94 undergoing the surgical removal of genitalia on a voluntary basis, according to Czech government statistics.