The EFHR effectively fights against the rising tide of hatred on the Internet, as evidenced by the investigation conducted on now defunct group on social network portal called Facebook, titled “Saw for the Poles” (lit. „Lenkpjūvė”). After the discovery of this group, the EFHR put forward an application to the Attorney General of Lithuania (Liertuvos Generalinė Prokuratūra) to bring group’s members to criminal liability for incitement to hatred against minorities. Prosecutor ordered an investigation by the Main Vilnius Constabulary (Vilniaus Apskrities Vyriausiasis Policijos Komisariatas). The Constabulary claimed the case to be unfounded, arguing that all the comments, photos posted and discussions conducted on the website were just a joke of the group’s members.
The European Foundation for Human Rights didn’t agree with the decision of the Police Station and lodged a complaint appeal to the Vilnius Regional Prosecutor’s Office (Vilniaus Apylinkės Prokuratūra), indicating particular statements, comments and photos and emphasizing their negative character. Prosecutor decided to re-initiate the investigation on this matter; the earlier refusal by the Constabulary was repealed as unfounded.
According to the decision of Prosecutor, the investigation will continue until September 21 this year. By that time, all the evidences and testimony in this case are to be collected. We would like to remind that 23 people belonged to the group titled “Saw for the Poles”, with a motto that stated “Slaughter the Poles in their youth!”. The group was open, which means that any user of Facebook could view its content, images and statements posted.
Although in a previous investigation conducted by the Main Vilnius Constabulary members of the group said that they really didn’t aim to insult the Poles and to instill hatred for them, the group on Facebook was closed shortly after the EFHR’s intervention.
The application on “Saw for the Poles” is one of dozens of requests sent to the Prosecutor by the European Foundation for Human Rights in the course of more than a yearlong campaign to end impunity of all those who don’t hesitate to violate the dignity of others or even advocate to deprive them of life. (http://www.efhr.eu/2011/08/18/european-foundation-of-human-rights-reported-a-dozen-or-so-cases-of-the-initiation-of-criminal-proceedings/?lang=en, http://www.efhr.eu/2012/04/20/group-on-facebook-called-saw-on-poles-deleted/?lang=en, http://www.efhr.eu/2012/05/02/„saw-for-the-poles-case-continued-the-prosecution-starts-an-investigation-following-our-intervention/?lang=en).
By directing requests to law enforcement for illegal entries, the Foundation would like to bring to a situation in which state authorities, which are responsible for law enforcement, will come to appreciate the seriousness of the issue and the risk that is associated with it. The State cannot stand idly by the rising tide of hatred on an unprecedented scale. The effects of such an approach are visible in the surveys, which clearly show that the negative campaign against ethnic minorities run by media and politicians was adapted by the Lithuanian society. (http://www.efhr.eu/2012/01/06/efhr-took-notice-seriously-of-the-survey-published-in-the-issue-of-iq-on-january/?lang=en).
The campaign of the European Foundation for Human Rights against the rising tide of hatred on the Internet in Lithuania brings the first tangible results such as court judgments. During 2011 and 2012 dozens of applications have been filed, and the EFHR already enjoyed successes in 5 cases of insulting comments and incitement to national discrimination. Accused people were fined for public incitement to hatred. (http://www.efhr.eu/2012/03/15/first-penalty-for-comments/?lang=en, http://www.efhr.eu/2012/04/16/another-punishment-for-the-comments/?lang=en, http://www.efhr.eu/2012/07/18/3-wins-concerning-comments/?lang=en).
We encourage you to inform us about illegal articles and comments you find on websites. Thank you for your help in advance. (http://www.efhr.eu/2012/08/03/european-foundation-of-human-rights-expresses-concern-about-the-comments/?lang=en).
The European Foundation for Human Rights
Translated by Ewelina Zarembska within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.