Politics

Canadian Pastor Who Was Jailed For 51 Days After Speaking To Trucker Convoy Alleges Mistreatment In Prison

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A Polish-Canadian pastor who was jailed for 51 days after addressing truckers along the U. S.-Canada border in Coutts, Alberta, recounted to Fox News Digital what he alleges was his mistreatment in prison.

Pastor Artur Pawlowski of the Cave of Adullam congregation in Calgary also spoke about his opportunities to minister to his fellow inmates and called on Alberta to do more to rehabilitate prisoners.

On Feb. 7, Pawlowski was arrested for the fifth time since the beginning of the pandemic after he delivered a speech to the trucker convoy, members of which asked him to speak to their group and officiate a church service along Alberta’s border with Montana. The truckers were protesting a Canadian mandate that forces truckers crossing the border with the U. S. to be vaccinated.

Pawlowski has become a prominent figure since first making international headlines during an Easter service in April 2021, when he threw armed police out of his sanctuary as they attempted to inspect it for COVID-19 compliance.

After continuing to hold church services in defiance of a court order, the pastor endured repeated dramatic arrests, including in the middle of a busy Calgary highway and on the tarmac of the Calgary International Airport.

During a 20-minute speech to the truckers on Feb. 3, Pawlowski urged them to “hold the line” against government overreach without resorting to violence. He also advised them against their plans to travel to Edmonton, the provincial capital, fearing they would face a government crackdown like that which happened in Ottawa.

Pawlowski also recounted to them the parallels he sees between the Freedom Convoy and Poland’s Solidarity movement in the 1980s that ultimately led to the liberation of his native country, despite resistance from its communist government.

Before Calgary police apprehended him at his home, Pawlowski was planning to return to the blockade to speak to them again and officiate another church service.

The Crown prosecutor argued in court that Pawlowski issued “an overt threat to violence,” an allegation that was echoed by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney. According to video of his remarks, the pastor repeatedly told the truckers not to resort to violence during their protests.

Pawlowski was taken to Calgary Remand Centre, where he alleges he was treated poorly. He said he was placed for a time in a small metal cage, not given water for a whole day, and deprived of both his glasses and a Bible for several days. He claimed he was strip-searched repeatedly, spent many hours in solitary confinement and was made to sleep on cold concrete.

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Some prison guards were respectful and even intimated to him their belief that he was a political prisoner, but he said others exhibited cruelty. Protests gathered daily for more than 40 days outside the jail, which he said prompted the prison administration to punish the other inmates on his behalf by placing all of them on lockdown.

“They were punishing the entire prison because of me,” he said. “And then they paraded me in front of the inmates, saying, ‘That’s the guy. You’re being punished because of him. So if you have a chance to do something, that’s the villain, that’s the guy.'”

“And I think that was the scariest time,” he added.

“I was told by inmates, and they’re willing to testify, that they were approached by different people from within the administration — and the guards bribing them with different incentives to beat me up,” he said, recounting how his cell door would sometimes be left open, which terrified him.

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Pawlowski said he found favor with his fellow inmates, though, many of whom sought him out for spiritual support after recognizing him as the pastor who keeps getting arrested. His unit, which consisted of approximately 20 other men, began to assemble for Bible study with him. Several, he says, converted to Christianity.

Shortly before his release on bail, Pawlowski was transferred to Edmonton Remand Centre, which is the largest prison in Canada. There he was placed in the psychiatric ward, where he shared a cell with a paranoid schizophrenic who told him he had killed his own brother with a machete.

“I said, ‘Oh my God, please. While I’m sleeping, please protect me,'” Pawlowski said.

“But you know, I was able to minister to him and pray for him,” he recounted about his cellmate.

When a worker from Alberta Health Services (AHS) checked on him and asked why he had been placed in the mental ward despite not having been diagnosed with a mental illness, Pawlowski said he had no answer.

He said that only God and the love of his family sustained him during his imprisonment. When he was finally given a Bible and the glasses to read it, he said he began each day with private devotions, which made him realize “my suffering is very little in comparison to what Jesus went through or what other people went through.”

“So that’s what kept me going every day,… (Read more)

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