Lithuanian courts routinely destroying free press in absentia without the defendants knowing about it
Lithuanian courts routinely hear cases in absentia without the defendants knowing about it
Statement on serious crimes in the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court – falsification and abuse of files and documents, and the handling of cases without the knowledge of the defendants
On 4 October 2022, I received a notification from Hostex, the company that registered the domain www.laisvaslaikrastis.lt, stating that we are allegedly in breach of the laws of the Republic of Lithuania and that it will be forced to terminate the contract for the registration of the domain name: „We have received an unappealable court order (case No. eI2-6259-596/2022), which states that you are in breach of the applicable laws of the Republic of Lithuania“.
The news that the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court has already heard some administrative case No. eI2-6259-596/2022, which ruled that we have violated the laws of the Republic of Lithuania, is completely new to us, and neither the court nor the Office of the Inspector of Journalists’ Ethics (OIJ), the reporting party, has informed us of this case.
The fact that the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court is constantly hearing administrative cases in absentia, without the defendants knowing anything about it, has become a tradition and an ongoing criminal activity.
I would like to inform the EU Commission that the above-mentioned administrative case No eI2-6259-596/2022, in which the court found that www.laisvaslaikrastis.lt had allegedly violated the laws of the Republic of Lithuania, was dealt with without any notification or knowledge of us.
The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court refused to provide the above mentioned ruling, which acknowledges that we allegedly violated the law, even after we wrote to them.
In this way, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court and its unnamed judges have committed a crime: they have committed malfeasance in office, falsified documents and exceeded the powers of their office.
The problem is that the prosecutor’s office does not investigate judicial crimes, and justifies everything on the grounds of ‘judicial independence’. At the same time, cases are heard in court without the defendants even being aware of their existence, and thus a semblance of justice is served.
That is to say, the judges of the court in question examined an administrative case, decided that we had violated the law, but did not inform us of this, and even refused to provide us with the aforementioned court order on the grounds that we were ‘not part of the case’.
This is absurd, because Lithuanian and EU law stipulates that people who break the law have the right to know what they are accused of and can defend their rights in court. In Lithuania, the opposite is the case – cases are heard in secret, behind closed doors, without the defendants knowing, and this is called ‘justice’.
The court ruled that we had violated LT law, without any notice or participation from us. Even though the law clearly states that we should have been sued because we are those whose „rights or obligations may be affected by the outcome of the case“.
Moreover, Article 49 of the Law on Administrative Justice (ABT Law) states that „we are entitled to have our rights and obligations respected“. Right of access to the case
1. The parties to the proceedings shall have the right to have access to the documents and other materials in the case (including the electronic file) and to obtain copies (digital copies) and extracts thereof, subject to payment, with the permission of the court (judge).
I remind you that the so-called court violated all articles of this law: it did not give notice of the case, it did not allow access, it did not allow knowledge, it ruled in absentia, without our presence and without allowing us to file a defence. This is not the first time that the court has ruled by default without giving any notice to the defendant.
The Vilnius Regional Administrative Court did exactly the same thing in administrative case No eI2-4913-983/2022.
In this case, the same ŽEIt applied for www.laisvaslaikrastis.lt, and the court re-examined the case without notifying us. Moreover, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (copy attached) informed us that we did not need to be informed as we were not a party to the proceedings.
The same was also said by the Supreme Administrative Court (the panel of judges of the Supreme Administrative Court (Iveta Peliene, Beata Martišienė, Veslava Ruskan), in its ruling of 31 August in administrative case No AS-599-602/2022, clarified that from now on any media outlet criticising the authorities must be closed down immediately, without the media outlet knowing about it, being heard, or being given notice.
This interpretation by the so-called court is categorically contrary to both the Constitution and the Law on Public Information. Although these laws state that „it is forbidden to prosecute for criticism“, and also clearly state that a media outlet can only be closed down for persistent violations of the law, the judges ruled that these laws have long since lapsed and are no longer in force. Therefore, any media outlet must be closed down immediately, „at the request of the authorities“.
I remind the courts that they have to be guided by existing laws, and Article 10 of the Law on Public Information. Prohibition of unlawful restrictions on freedom of information
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.
Article 52. Suspension, termination of activities of producers and/or disseminators of public information and removal of access to public information
1. The activities of a producer and/or disseminator of public information, other than broadcasters, retransmitters of radio and/or television programmes, providers of online distribution of television programmes and/or individual programmes and/or providers of on-demand audiovisual media services, may be suspended or terminated in the cases set out in this Article.
On the request of the Inspector, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court may suspend the activities of a public information service provider and/or a broadcaster for a maximum period of 3 months if the public information service provider and/or the broadcaster is in clear, serious and grave breach of the requirements of Article 19(1) of this Law, after all the following conditions have been established.
The portal and the company I represent have not violated any laws, but they are being illegally persecuted for their constant criticism of the government and the parliament.
I draw the court’s attention to the fact that, in passing the above-mentioned order, the judges in question have repeatedly falsified it by entering knowingly false data and have used it as a basis for passing it.
I lodged a complaint with the Administrative Court because as early as mid-March, Ramanauskaitė, the head of the Office of the Inspector of Journalists’ Ethics (OJEI), appointed by the majority of the Seimas, had sent a notice to all the telecommunication companies, demanding that they close down („restrict access to“) www.laisvaslaikrastis.lt immediately. The „expert“ Aliona Gaidarovic, hired by Ramanauskatė, decided that two articles reprinted on our portal from the famous British portal www.off-quardian.com were „disinfection“
Basically, they were two texts, one of which warned that the NATO-imposed „no-fly zone“ over Ukraine meant World War III, and the other text contained a number of examples of Ukraine publishing a number of „fictions“ of this war, such as images of the computer game „Armada“ as evidence of its victories over Russian aviation.
2. In short, there is no „disinformation“ in these texts, and it is not for „aliens“ to judge the quality of the British press. I have taken such attempts by the Ramanauskaitis-Allians to destroy a free newspaper to the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court. I pointed out that, even after the war in Ukraine and after the Seimas had given more power to the aforementioned bimbos, the law still requires that, when a media outlet is shut down, it must state that the shutdown is valid for 72 hours only, and then the HRIC must take the matter to court to claim that it has restricted the media.I also asked that interim measures be taken to revoke the aforementioned letter from the HRIC, as it is still being blocked on the basis of this letter, even though almost half a year has already passed and not 72 hours.
Then the circus began – the judge who took up my complaint, Gaidytė-Lavrinovič, of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court, immediately started to falsify the case by writing that nobody had blocked www.laisvaslaikrastis.lt for a long time, so there was no need to deal with the issue. Although the portal is still blocked by order of the Lithuanian telecommunications company ŽEIT for almost half a year, which is very easy to check – all you have to do is try to open it – but Gaidytė-Lavrinovič pointed out that there is no such thing. Obviously, Judge Gaidytė did not even try to open the portal www.laisvaslaikrastis.lt to check whether she was falsifying her order.
However, Judge Gaidytė-Lavrinovič found that the portal was working fine, nobody was blocking it, and she stated that there was no reason to apply interim measures and annul the decision of the HRIC to close the portal, as „the decision is no longer valid, it was only valid for 72 hours“. Judge Gaidytė-Lavrinovič thus falsified her own order by including in it knowingly false data.
The Members of the aforementioned Chamber reiterated this nonsense and crime, stating that „it should be noted that the applicant’s arguments that Judge Gaidytė-Lavrinovič acted illegally („falsified information“) are not supported by any evidence and are to be considered as assumptions. Having assessed the content of the order under appeal, the Chamber notes that the judge, in giving reasons for refusing to grant the applicant’s request, was exercising the jurisdictional activity of the court (judges), the external expression of which is the performance of individual procedural actions and the adoption of procedural decisions, and that this cannot in itself be regarded as evidence of the judges’ bias and interest in the outcome of the case.
I do not know how else to prove the obvious – the portal www.laisvaslaikrastis.lt has been illegally blocked until today, 3 September, and this has been going on for more than half a year. This is a complete criminal arbitrariness and abuse of the courts.
I then appealed against this ruling to the so-called ‘High Administrative Court’. I pointed out that, although the court recognised that the HRW sanctions could only be applied for 72 hours, they have been applied until now, which is more than six months. The head of the HRIC herself, Ms Ramanauskaitė, when she sent the telecommunications companies an order to block the portal, forgot to write in the order that the ban could only be imposed for 72 hours. Therefore, all the „telios“, „bitės“ and tele2 continue to block www.laisvaslaikrastis, and do so illegally (a separate lawsuit has been filed against them).
The portal has been closed since March, even though the law only allows it to be closed for 72 hours. Moreover, this trio from the Supreme Administrative Court explained to me that there is no connection between the HRIC letter and the blocking of the portal: „It should be stressed that there is no reason to temporarily limit the validity of a letter that is no longer in force, pending the hearing of the case. It should be noted that the applicant unjustifiably equates the validity of the letter with the actual blocking of access to the Portal’.
I repeat: all the telecommunications companies closed down the portal on the basis of the above-mentioned HRIT letter and are still blocking it on the basis of the above-mentioned documents, and the so-called ‘court’ signs to me that this is not relevant. Clearly, this is yet another crime committed by the members of this panel – deliberate falsification of a document.
The fact that all the courts are falsifying their orders means that the entire judicial system is operating in an organised criminal group. The IAS also failed to comment on and to take any account of these circumstances I have outlined: in my reply to the HRIC’s letter, I pointed out that, in another administrative case, the HRIC had indicated that the court had already ordered the closure of the laisvaslaikrastis.lt portal, but neither the court, nor the HRIC, had informed us of this. When we asked for the document in question, the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court even formally refused in writing to provide us with its masterpiece authorising the blocking of www.laisvaslaikrastis.lt. Although the court decided to close www.laisvaslaikrastis.lt, the portal itself „is not a party to the proceedings“.
In a word, the crimes and impunity committed by judges have reached the point where the courts are dealing with the fate of a person or a company, without the latter knowing about it or being informed. Then they even refuse to inform that person of their ruling, because they are ‘not part of the process’. I do not know, but even under Grybauskaitė, those thugs with the black robes and chains around their necks were not so arrogant as to decide a person’s fate without him knowing about it. Even Stalin’s ‘troikas’ formally questioned the defendant and allowed him to speak before he was shot or executed.
7. In a „legal welfare state“, this practice is no longer necessary – a man’s fate is decided in absentia, without him being present. All these arguments of mine were set out in the complaint against the banditry of the judges of the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court and addressed to the judges of the so-called High Administrative Court. However, the latter did not say a word about it. „Vsio zakonno“. The complaint is dismissed.