GRAVELAND — An Alberta pastor who, along with his brother, was found guilty of contempt after deliberately violating COVID-19 health orders has told a judge that he is a political prisoner who is being persecuted by Alberta Health Services.
Artur Pawlowski said during a seven-minute statement at his sentencing hearing on Tuesday that he and his brother, Dawid, have done nothing wrong.
“I am here before this court as a political prisoner of conscience,” he said before Justice Adam Germain. “The AHS and the politicians have found a new way of penalizing anyone that is opposing their unconstitutional medical tyranny. They hate the idea that they have been exposed for what they really are: liars, hypocrites and cheaters,” he said.
“I have heard from my grandparents about similar tactics from the time of the Nazis, persecuting churches and the clergy. Canada has fallen. Sure you can lock us up and throw the key away, but our political imprisonment will shout even louder about the hypocrisy.”
The Pawlowskis, both from Calgary, were arrested in May and accused of organizing an illegal gathering as well as of promoting and attending an illegal gathering. They had been holding church services that flouted rules on masking and physical distancing.
The arrests came after court orders were granted allowing Alberta Health Services and police to charge anyone who advertised gatherings that would breach health restrictions.
At the sentencing hearing Monday, the health provider asked that the pastor be jailed for 21 days and that his brother be sentenced to 10 days. The court is also being asked to fine Artur Pawlowski $2,000 and impose $15,000 in costs.
Sarah Miller, who is representing the Pawlowskis, said there is no need to incarcerate her clients.
“This a civil proceeding that is designed to compel compliance with the court orders and that is exactly what has occurred. As far as general deterrence, they have been deterred. They have spent their time in jail,” she said.
“A fine is more than reasonable to sanction either of the Pawlowskis in this case. There is no need to put them into incarceration.”
Germain said he will release his decision Oct. 13.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 14, 2021.
Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
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Police arrest two more people following killing of eight-year-old girl in Alberta
An Edmonton Police Service logo is shown at a press conference in Edmonton, Oct. 2, 2017. Police in Edmonton have charged two more people following the killing of an eight-year-old girl whose remains were found on a First Nation south of the provincial capital in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Police in Edmonton have charged two more people following the killing of an eight-year-old girl whose remains were found on a First Nation south of the provincial capital.
Officers responded on April 24 to a welfare call about the girl at an Edmonton home but were unable to locate her.
Her remains were discovered five days later on the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis.
Shayden Lightning, who is 21, and Raighne Stoney, who is 36, have been charged with being an accessory to murder and causing an indignity to a body.
Three others were initially charged in the case.
Police are not releasing the names of two of the accused in order to protect the identities of other children related to the victim, whose identity is under a publication ban.
A 27-year-old woman faces a charge of first-degree murder and a 25-year-old man faces charges of being an accessory to murder and causing an indignity to a body.
Edward Nievera, 67, was charged with being an accessory to murder and causing an indignity to a body.
Edmonton police Staff Sgt. Colin Leathem said in a release Friday that the recent arrests will be the last in the case and that the investigation has concluded.
“We want to thank the RCMP in Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin for their assistance with this investigation,” he said. “Needless to say, this was an exceptionally distressing investigation to work on, and they went above and beyond in helping to facilitate these final arrests and bring this file to conclusion.
“While nothing can change the horror of what occurred, we hope (the arrests) can provide some measure of justice to those who knew and loved this little girl.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2023.
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