Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Latvian right-wing extremist gets two year suspended sentence for hate speech

Valdis Rošāns, a self-proclaimed Latvian right-wing extremist charged with hate-speech  writings on the internet (including comments on a Latvian-language libertarian blog that I wrote), was given a two-year suspended sentence by a Latvian court on August 18.
Rošāns published remarks that were allegedly demeaning to Jews, gays and other minorities. He claims his internet comments were reported to the authorities by, an organization dedicated to tolerance and, among other things,  to diminishing hate and abusive behavior on the internet.
While these are admirable aims, I believe Latvia and other European countries should adhere to the broadest possible interpretation of free expression. Repulsive as some of the tbings Rošāns has written may have been, they should not be grounds for imprisonment, suspended or otherwise.
Supporters of free speech such as Article 19 have argued against hate speech laws. They are counterproductive and dangerous, giving the power to chill or even censor free debate and expression. Repressing people like Rošāns not only violates his right to free expression, it also, as Christopher Hitchens pointed out, violates my right to be exposed to all kinds of expression and allowing me, not the state, to decide what I will or will not listen to or read.


Anonymous said...

What Latvia must remember these days is that they are in Europe now. European Laws will not tolerate this behaviour. Right or wrong, Europe preaches “Freedom of Speech”. I’m sure if this man ever went to prison then the European Courts would simply overturn the decision. It really is that simple.


Valdis Rosans said...

Anonymus, you are wrong. After judge read the decision, she told me that now we live in European Union, and in European Union there is forbidden to say the things I said.

Yes, there is freedom of speech in european union, but it's reserved for gays, jews and other liberals idelogically suitet for new union (or empire). Freedom of speech here is just a empty cover to brainwash society.

Also in Soviet Union there was freedom of speech granted in various laws, but we all know how it was in reality. Some wrong words or joke told to friend might lead to gulag in Siberia.