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Protection from homophobic hate speech - important new judgment from European Court of Human Rights

The Second Section of the European Court of Human Rights has issued its judgment in the case of Beizaras and Levickas v Lithuania, holding unanimously that there had been a violation of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of the State’s failure to protect individuals from homophobic hate speech.

I first wrote about this case back in 2017, when the Court communicated it.

The applicants are two young men who are in a relationship. One of the applicants posted a photograph of them kissing on his Facebook page, which led to hundreds of online hate comments. Some were about LGBT people in general, while others personally threatened the applicants.

Examples of the comments are:
“I’m going to throw up – they should be castrated or burnt; cure yourselves, jackasses – just saying”
“If you were born perverts and have this disorder, then go and hide in basements and do whatever you like there, faggots. But you will not ruin our beautiful society, which was brought up by my mum and dad…

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