Lithuania remains the only country in the world to declare journalism a serious criminal activity
firstname.lastname@example.org 28 July, 2023 0
To the Supreme Court of Lithuania
Applicant Aurimas Drižius, email@example.com
On the introduction of censorship, criminalisation of journalism and unlawful persistent harassment, reopening of criminal cases
Since 2009, I have been criminally prosecuted for a perfectly legitimate activity – journalism – after the Vilnius City District Court introduced censorship in a civil case and declared journalism a serious criminal activity.
Although the Constitution and the Law on Public Information categorically prohibit censorship and its application, the Lithuanian legal system applies censorship only in one case – against me and the “Laisvos laikrasts”.
I have been convicted six times in criminal cases No. 1-258-503/2014, No. 1-693-503/2011, No. 1A-741-53-2010, No. 1-100-818/2011, No. 1-257-648/2010, No. 1A-815-497/2014
The Vilnius City District Court imposed censorship on me and the weekly newspaper “Laisvas laikraštis” back in 2009 in the civil case No. 2-117 734/2009, banning me from writing articles about the activities of Alvydas Sadecko, former chairman of the Seimas Committee for National Security and Defence, in the privatisation of AB “Mažeikių nafta”. The censorship was described as “non-compliance with a court decision”.
Sadecki’s lawyer, Mindaugas Kukaitis, the current chairman of the Bar Council, explained in court that I should be banned from writing articles about Sadecki because “writing articles is like making fake sneakers”. For example, if I come up with the idea of making fake Nike shoes, the court can ban me from doing so in advance,” Kukaitis explained with a serious face. The courts still accept Kukaitis’ view that “banning the production of counterfeit shoes is equivalent to banning the press”.
Since then, for 13 years, I have been persecuted for a perfectly legitimate activity – journalism – completely forgetting Article 44(1) of the Constitution, which states that “censorship of mass information is prohibited”.
The Constitutional Court has clarified what censorship is: “Censorship is the control of the content of the press, films, radio and television broadcasts, theatrical performances and other public events, in order to prevent the dissemination of certain messages and ideas. It is important for democracy that public opinion is free to form. This means, in particular, that the establishment of a mass media outlet and its ability to operate should not depend on the content of future publications or broadcasts.”.
In addition, Article 10 of the Law on Public Information “Prohibition of unlawful restrictions on freedom of information” states: “Censorship of public information is prohibited in the Republic of Lithuania. Any action aimed at controlling the content of information published in the mass media prior to its publication shall be prohibited, except in cases provided for by law.”
The above-mentioned Vilnius City District, Regional and Supreme Courts have already rejected my requests for the abolition of censorship ten times, during which time I have been convicted seven times for lawful activities, for allegedly “disobeying a court order” (i.e. censorship), my and my family’s property has been sold off at auction, and I have been turned into a beggar and a cripple, with the same “court” system ignoring any requirements of the Constitution and of the law.
Furthermore, I have provided the court with evidence that Sadeckas was a key figure in the privatisation of Mažeikių Nafta, personally deciding to whom the shares of this company should be sold, and changing the law so that this company could be replaced by the Russian company Yukos.
I pointed out that I have been persecuted for many years for my journalism by the so-called prosecutor’s office and the judicial system, which completely ignores the requirements of the law and the Constitution, and which ignores the written evidence and documents I have submitted and presents them as my fabrications or as non-existent.
Moreover, the so-called judges pretend that they do not know the fundamental law of the country, the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. Article 6 of the Constitution says: ‘The Constitution is an integral and directly applicable law. Anyone can defend his rights on the basis of the Constitution.
Article 7 – No law or other act contrary to the Constitution shall be valid.
In this case, all the decisions of the courts – the imposition of censorship, and the persecution of the press on the basis of Sadecki’s false complaints and testimony – are in direct contradiction to the above-mentioned points of the Constitution.
I draw the court’s attention to the fact that the Lithuanian courts have violated not only the requirements of the Lithuanian Constitution and the Law on Public Information, but also the fundamental articles of the European Convention on Human Rights.
As you know, Article 457 of the CPC. The right to apply for the reopening of a criminal case states that
An application to reopen a criminal case on the grounds referred to in Article 456(1) of the present Code may be submitted by a person against whom violations of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights or its Additional Protocols or of the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms or its Additional Protocols, or by the person’s successor in title, or by an authorised representative of such persons, or by the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Lithuania.
ARTICLE 7 of the European Convention on Human Rights
No punishment without law states that :
No one shall be convicted of any act or omission which
under the laws of the State in force at the time of their commission, or
The writing of articles or journalism is not a criminal activity in any country other than the Republic of Lithuania.
The Republic of Lithuania is a signatory to the Convention and has undertaken to comply with the requirements of the Convention, and therefore, on the basis of Article 7 of the Convention, Article 44 of the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania, Article 10 of the Law on Public Information, as well as Articles 456 and 457 of the CPC, 1-258-503/2014, 1-693-503/2011, 1A-741-53-2010, 1-100-818/2011, 1-257-648/2010, 1A-815-497/2014, and acquit me.