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Slovenia: lawsuits and fines against peaceful demonstrators should be dropped

Statement
Strasbourg 25/05/2022
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Slovenia: lawsuits and fines against peaceful demonstrators should be dropped

“The financial and administrative harassment of civil society activists in Slovenia must stop immediately,” said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović. “Demanding that peaceful demonstrators reimburse the costs for policing unregistered public assemblies is clearly incompatible with both Slovenia’s international human rights obligations with regard to the right to freedom of peaceful assembly, and with Slovenia’s Public Assembly Act, which makes a clear difference in this respect between organised events and public assemblies.”

Among the activists targeted, the case of Jaša Jenull stands out. Last Friday, a third lawsuit was brought against him by the State Attorney, on the request of the Ministry of Interior, seeking reimbursement of police costs reportedly induced at some anti-government demonstrations that had not been officially registered in the course of the past two years.

“In a Memorandum published last year, I expressed serious concerns about attempts by some government officials to intimidate civil society activists in Slovenia and the negative impact this was having on their freedom of expression, as well as about disproportionate restrictions on freedom of peaceful assembly in the country. In order to reverse this situation, lawsuits claiming police costs should be discontinued and fines against all participants for taking part in peaceful demonstrations should be cancelled. Other recommendations in my Memorandum should also be implemented to protect freedom of expression and assembly and to ensure that civil society can work in a safe and enabling environment,” the Commissioner concluded.