By Calvin Palmer
The Polish parliament has approved tough measures against convicted pedophiles and the perpetrators of incest that include chemical castration.
The bill, sponsored by Poland’s center-right government, introduces chemical therapy for pedophiles convicted of raping children under the age of 15 years or a close relative on their release from prison.
It also increases prison sentences for rape and incest, and criminalizes any attempt to justify pedophilia. Anyone propagating such a view is subject to a prison term of up to two years and a similar sentence will apply to anyone attempting to seduce a child under 15 years of age over the Internet.
The bill was approved by an overwhelming majority in Poland’s 460-seat lower house of parliament and is expected to be approved by the upper house where Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform party holds a 100-seat majority.
Tusk first raised the issue of chemical castration for convicted paedophiles a year ago, after a 45-year-old man was charged with having raped and held his 21-year-old daughter captive for six years. She gave birth to two children as a result of the rapes.
At the time, Tusk said: “I want … to introduce in Poland the most rigorous law possible regarding criminals who rape children.”
But the move has drawn criticism from human rights groups.
“Introducing any mandatory treatment raises doubts as such a requirement is never reasonable and life can always produce cases that lawmakers could never have even dreamt of,” said Piotr Kladoczny from the Helsinki Foundation of Human Rights.
Justice officials in Poland say 700 cases of pedophilia are reported to police in Poland each year.
The Czech Republic, has voluntary chemical and surgical castration laws in place for sex offenders.
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.