Ethics committee votes no violation in MP reposting anti-LGBT content

Saeima MP Jānis Iesalnieks (National Alliance), who mid-July had retweeted a post allegedly of a discriminating nature against sexual minorities, has not violated the Saeima Code of Ethics, Latvian Television reported August 5.

Development/For!, supported by Harmony, had turned to the Saeima Mandate, Ethics and Submissions Committee regarding a post on Twitter where Jānis Iesalnieks had allegedly encouraged hatred towards a group of society.

On March 1, Iesalnieks had retweeted a post about "LGBT-ideology Free Zones" forming in Poland, followed by a tweet about a sign of a similar nature in Latvian on July 13.



Iesalnieks said he had merely suggested a more precise translation of the Polish "LGBT Free Zones" sign in Latvian, not meaning offense towards any group. "If there is punishment for these kinds of posts, we are moving in the direction of Russia," said Iesalnieks.

The Saeima Ethics Committee voted that no violation of ethics was committed, with 4 votes against the violation, 4 abstained, 3 voted for. The actions of the MP may have offended someone but punishment would cause concerns about censorship, said the Committee representatives.

The "Mozaika" LGBT association expressed their disappointment with the decision on Facebook, with hopes that "Latvian politicians won’t follow the path of excluding certain groups from the public platform and dehumanising a part of Latvian society", indicating that these tweets were an example of hate speech and calling for European institutions to react.

In response, Iesalnieks said on Twitter that Mozaika's allegations were "fabricated", as well as saying that he was not surprised about Harmony Party siding with Development/For! in the case against him. "Both political forces detest a traditional value-based Latvia. Both have roots in left internationalism," said Iesalnieks.



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