Prosecutor Drops Charges against Ivaškevičius, Opens Case against His Persecutors

The Lithuanian Prosecutor’s Office announced Wednesday it had opened a case on the possible harassment of the playwright Marius Ivaškevičius.

It also announced law enforcement will investigate the illicit collection of private information about Ivaškevičius and the illicit sharing of such information.

The state prosecutor demanded an investigation be conducted after law enforcement agencies received information about an article on a webpage entitled “Death to Marius Ivaškevičius!”

The article indicated a database of “enemies of the homeland” was being prepared and asked readers to supply as much information as possible regarding the private life of the Lithuanian writer.

The internet posting said the information was needed to kill Ivaškevičius, the prosecutor reported.

The report said these facts amount to the “terrorizing” of the writer “because of his literary works which annoyed a portion of the public and for his public position, and thus constitute an illegal attempt to limit his creative and self-expression.”

The prosecutor commented that if an investigation were not made in this type of a situation, it would set a precedent that the publication of information to spread hate and terrorize an individual, incitement to collect illicitly private information and the employment of this information in the commission of other crimes are tolerated.

Criticism of Ivaškevičius intensified after he was announced the winner of the Lithuanian National Prize for culture and art.

Several dozen people asked law enforcement to begin an investigation concerning statements made in Ivaškevičius’s book “Žali” about the Lithuanian partisan war and Jonas Žemaitis, a partisan leader. The prosecutor’s office declined to investigate.

Then several organizations demanded the prize commission meet again and reconsider giving the prize to Ivaškevičius.

Prosecutors also decided not to investigate a recent complaint made against Ivaškevičius for a statement he made about Jews and Poles on Lithuanian public radio: “We pushed out many Polish speakers, we pushed out and murdered Jews.”

Lithuanian MP Auša Maldeikienė sent an official request to the State Prosecutor’s Office asking the database of “enemies of the state” be investigated, according to a March 1 press release from her office.

Full text in Lithuanian here.