As we have previously informed, the European Foundation of Human Rights discovered a group on the social networking portal called Facebook, titled “Saw for the Poles” (lit. „Lenkpjūvė”) with a motto that stated “Slaughter the Poles while they’re young!” („Pjauk lenką kol jaunas!”). The group consisted of 23 members who posted comments and statements, which openly encouraged hatred against the Polish minority in Lithuania. Additionally, the members added multiple images that are considered as insulting by the Polish nation (http://www.efhr.eu/2012/04/20/group-on-facebook-called-saw-on-poles-deleted/?lang=en).
The EFHR has put forward an application to the Prosecution Service of the Republic of Lithuania to bring trial to the members of the group for encouraging hatred against national minorities in accordance to article number 170 from the Lithuanian Penal Code. The prosecution decided to pass on the investigation to be carried out by the Main Vilnius Constabulary but they refused to accept the task, explaining that they don’t see why it should be done and there is no basis on which steps should be taken. They also added that the encouragement of hatred was only a “members’ joke”.
After getting a negative response from the Lithuanian law enforcement, the European Foundation of Human Rights considering the closure of the group itself as not enough, has put forward a complaint to the Prosecution Service of Vilnius (Vilniaus Apylinkės Prokuratūra) about the Main Vilnius Constabulary.
On the 27th of April 2012, the prosecution office informed the Foundation in writing, that it supports our argument and an investigation will be underway in relation to the Facebook group, and also informed that the Constabulary’s earlier decision has be overridden for being unreasonable. The investigation will be carried out by the above mentioned prosecution office in Vilnius. We are pleased to hear that our efforts will not be in vain!
The complaint about the mentioned Facebook group that has been sent to the prosecution is only one of many complaints made by the EFHR as part of their campaign of which the main objective is the elimination of the sense of freedom and security that all those that strike on other people’s dignity and pride, have at the moment and to stop the encouragement of doing harm to others, including taking their lives.
Through sending applications relating to illegal activities to law enforcement organisations, the Foundation would like to turn those organisations’ attention to the existing problems, their seriousness and the threat that they pose, as they are the ones responsible for ensuring that the law is obeyed. The state cannot simply turn a blind eye on the increasing rate of hatred that has now reached a level never noted before. The effects of such attitude are visible for example in surveys where it is revealed that the negative campaign conducted by the media and politicians in regards to national minorities, has an impact on the Lithuanian society.
The campaign conducted by the European Foundation of Human Rights against the increasing level of hatred shown on the Internet in Lithuania is starting to return positive effects with a rise in sentences made by the jury.
We strongly encourage everyone to inform us about any articles or posts on the internet, that are found to be illegal. Thank you in advance for assistance.
Translated by Kamil Szwarc within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.