Klaipėda politician Viačeslavas Titovas has been fined €12,000 for defaming a Lithuanian post-war partisan leader in a ruling he plans to appeal at the European Court of Human Rights.
The Klaipėda District Court has ruled that Titovas is guilty of defaming the memory of a deceased person, incitement of hatred against a group of people, and public excuse or denial of Soviet crimes.
According to the prosecutor, Titovas systemically shared “hate inciting information” on Lithuanian post-war partisans and their leader, Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, basing his claims solely on the Soviet court rulings of 1957, and ignoring material rehabilitating Vanagas.
Klaipėda City Municipality council member Viačeslavas Titovas broke his oath, said Lithuania’s Supreme Administrative Court, by claiming Ramanauskas-Vanagas is responsible for the death of 8,000 civilians.
The statement came when Klaipėda University unveiled a plaque dedicated to Ramanauskas-Vanagas in March 2019.
The politician did not wait for an impeachment vote and resigned as a member of the City Council of Klaipėda, but was re-elected in municipal elections in March 2019. Meanwhile, the prosecutors asked for a suspended sentence.
Titovas has said he is being persecuted for expressing his opinion which does not align with the official position.
However, “freedom of expression is not absolute,” said the Panel of Judges chairman Gintaras Kryževičius.
“It can be limited,” in the sole aim to “ensure a democratic nation’s wellbeing, and that no rights of other persons are violated,” said Kryževičius.
Vanagas’ daughter, Auksutė Ramanauskaitė-Skokauskienė, is the aggrieved party.
Titovas has said he will appeal the decision to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), due to alleged breaches in “my rights to express an opinion, and represent my voters,” Titovas told BNS earlier this year.