Freedom and Solidarity (SaS) MP Martin Poliačik sparked indignation among lawmakers of a less liberal persuasion on May 21 when he brought a small package to the podium during a speech in parliament and claimed that it was hashish. By doing so, Poliačik said, he wanted to demonstrate how small an amount can land a young person in jail, despite the fact that they are not involved in drug dealing. According to him, arresting people for smoking a "single joint" isn't right.
Parliament was negotiating a law that would soften sentences for people who are caught with “a bigger than a small amount of a drug”, such as small dealers. Whereas convictions in such cases currently result in an automatic prison sentence, the proposed new rules would lead to a suspended sentence.
"There are a lot of people who've never seen [drugs] in their lives, yet pose as drug experts,” said Poliačik, as quoted by the TASR newswire. “This little thing right here can land a person in jail for four years. Such a tiny scrap can turn an individual's life into a living hell, not because it's a narcotic but because of our law. And that's why I support the amendment."
The purported substance attracted the attention of independent MP Alojz Hlina, who came to the podium to take a closer look. Hlina slammed Poliačik who – together with other lawmakers – failed to attend previous deliberations about the law. Poliačik wrapped up his speech with the words: "Don't worry; this was just an illustrative example. It's nothing but chocolate." He then ate the substance.
"What you have done here is disparage Parliament and the sanctity of this sacred place," said Pavol Hrušovský, the chairman of the Christian Democratic Movement (KDH) parliamentary caucus, in response. A strict opponent of drugs in any shape or form, Hrušovský said that he opposed any reduction in drug-related punishments. Anton Martvoň of Smer thanked the liberal MP for his illustrative example of how small an amount of drugs can result in jail-time for citizens, adding that he supports the amendment.
Poliačik's speech was immediately reported to the police by a parliamentary security officer on the grounds that he may have brought an illegal substance into parliament, TASR wrote. According to Interior Minister Robert Kaliňák, the case is now under investigation.
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information presented in its Flash News postings.
22. May 2013 at 14:00