Polish court fines editor for insulting Pope
A Polish editor who used to speak for the country's former communist rulers was fined yesterday for insulting the Pope in an article that mocked him as the "Vatican's Brezhnev" - the famously decrepit Soviet leader.
Jerzy Urban, editor of controversial weekly Nie (No), called Polish-born Pope John Paul "a senile man" who should "go to bed, pick his nose... or gobble caviar", just before the pontiff's visit to Poland in 2002.
A court in devoutly Roman Catholic Poland fined Urban 20,000 zlotys ($6,420) and gave him a suspended 10-month prison sentence, calling his article titled "The walking sadomasochist" a "deliberate and tactical move and a measured provocation".
The article compared the 84-year-old Pope to former Soviet president Leonid Brezhnev, whose last years were plagued by ill health with doctors struggling to keep him alive and prime him for occasional public appearances. He died in office in 1982.