On 15th of March 2016 on lrytas website appeared an article entitled: “ Confusion in Russia: Revolt against annexation of Crimea” (lit.: “„Rusijoje – sujudimas: įsiutino aneksuoto Krymo klausimas“), below which, the same day, a person under the nickname “DEBILAI RUSKELIAI” posted a comment: “atomic on your head, not on Crimea” (lit.:” „atomine jums ant galvos o ne kryma“).
According to European Foundation of Human Rights (EFHR), the comment left under the article incited hatred in terms of national identity. Prosecutor’s office in Kaunas refused to initiate proceedings, because according to an expert, the comment neither breaks the right of freedom of speech nor incites hatred, it was just a subjective opinion. When the decision was appealed by EFHR legal proceedings were finally initiated.
After considering the case, according to the Office of the Inspector of Journalist Ethics (lit. Žurnalistų etikos inspektoriaus tarnyba) opinion the District Court of Kedainiai found that the defendant posted a comment in which he, in public, despised a national group and encouraged to hate towards them. The comment was public, and its author wanted to spread his opinion among other users of the Internet.
The court found that the defendant was guilty of public despising representatives of Russian nationality and encouraging to hatred on the basis of nationality, beliefs and opinions. The defendant was sentenced for restriction of liberty for 4 months, during which he is obliged to work or to be registered as an unemployed.
In 2016 EFHR submitted 23 proposals for initiating legal proceedings, in case of comments encouraging to hatred to Lithuanian prosecutor’s offices. Since the foundation has been established, there were submitted 570 such proposals, and 47 of them were won. If you notice comments which could incite to hatred, let us know sending information on our email address email@example.com.