Slovak Republic Loses Free Speech Lawsuit After Police Shut Down Pro-Life Rally

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 3, 2009   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Slovak Republic Loses Free Speech Lawsuit After Police Shut Down Pro-Life Rally

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
June 3
, 2009

Kosice, Slovak Republic (LifeNews.com) — The highest court in the Slovak Republic, an eastern European nation, ruled in favor of a pro-life group Tuesday in its lawsuit against police for shutting down a pro-life rally. The Centre for Bio-ethical Reform Europe filed suit with the help of attorneys from the Alliance Defense Fund.

ADF attorneys told LifeNews.com that police put an end to a peaceful pro-life rally that was held in full compliance with domestic law.

The pro-life legal group says CBR held its “Stop Genocide” rally to inform people about the atrocities of genocide, including abortion, but Slovak police asserted the signs displayed by participants were too graphic for the general public.

The court ruled that police violated the pro-life group’s constitutional right to free speech.

“Pro-life advocates should not be discriminated against and silenced for expressing their beliefs and making people aware of the truth,” Roger Kiska, a European-based ADF attorney said. “The court agreed that the display at the rally was completely legal and couldn’t be considered scandalous, since it condemns violence rather than advocates it.”

The judges observed at a hearing Tuesday that CBR Europe’s display does not advocate violence or any breach of human rights. The court determined police violated the free speech rights of the group’s members and awarded monetary damages as well as reimbursement of attorneys’ fees.

They concluded that, because the display clearly condemns all forms of violence, it cannot be considered scandalizing.

“Had this decision gone the wrong way, its effects could have gone far beyond the Slovak Republic,” Kiska explained.

“Activist judges in other countries–including the U.S.–look for selected decisions to import into their own rulings in an attempt to bolster their conclusions with global support. They won’t find anything this time," he told LifeNews.com.

Police in the eastern Slovakian town of Kosice ended CBR Europe’s peaceful protest with no legal justification, as both the time and place of the campaign rally were fully within the law, the lawsuit contends.

The primary contention from the officers involves the signs CBR Europe used during the demonstration, which displayed photos of aborted children and other images of genocide and human rights abuses.

ADF attorneys argue that police violated the freedom of expression rights of the group’s members under both Slovak and European Convention law.

Brunno Quintivalle, a pro-life attorney from the United Kingdom, also assisted with the case.

Related web sites:
Alliance Defense Fund – https://www.telladf.org

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