Roasted Court Says Kaczynski Can Be Called a Duck

A court in Poland ruled on Monday that it was not slanderous to refer to President Lech Kaczynski as a duck.

Back in 2005, Lech Kaczynski, who is now Poland's president, and his brother Jaroslaw, who heads up the country's opposition, seemed still to have a glimmer of a sense of humor. Their last name derives from the word "kaczka," which means "duck" in Polish, and so the two used a duck as the symbol for their right-wing Law and Justice Party.

Jaroslaw even allowed himself to be photographed in 2006 as he fed the ducks in a park in Warsaw. He shrugged off duck-related jibes like, well, water off a duck's back.

Except, that is, when a commentator for the daily newspaper Dziennik got into the act. The twins, with their dour, slightly round appearances, have always seemed sitting ducks for satire, and the Dziennik columnist Jerzy Pilch began referring to the ruling duo simply as "the ducks."

President Lech, though, tired of the duck identity and filed a complaint against Pilch. On Monday, a Warsaw court upheld the duck nickname, arguing that it was not slanderous. Judge Alina Rychlinska found that comparing humans to animals is not necessarily an insult.

It wasn't the first time the Kaczynskis have been roasted in the press. In the summer of 2006, the Berlin-based left-wing daily Die Tageszeitung ran a cover photo-montage of the Kaczynski twins with potatoes for heads. Their feathers ruffled, the two demanded an apology from German Chancellor Angela Merkel -- who refused on the grounds that it would be inappropriate given free press guarantees.

cgh -- with wire reports

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