Lithuania opening more hate speech probes

Lithuanian courts are pursuing more investigations of hate speech against Jews.

The number of hate-speech investigations launched by prosecutors in Lithuania has sharply increased over the past two years, according to the Baltic News Service. This year, prosecutors have initiated 13 investigations into incidents of hate speech, most of them against Jews but others based on victims’ ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation. Twenty such cases were opened in 2006, compared to just one in 2005, five in 2004, and one in 2003. More than half the cases involve incitement of hatred against Jews.

Lithuania’s prosecutor general, Cintaras Jasaitis, attributed the increase to the growing popularity of the Internet and the opportunities for hate speech that medium enables.

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