Constitutional Court calls for review of flag-flying laws

The Constitutional Court has filed a case based on the appeal of citizen Solvita Olsena, who was fined for failing to raise the flag according to the law which requires such an observance of duty on certain dates, moreover on further memorial occasions with a black ribbon of mourning appended thereto.

While the state flag is to be flown at public as well as private buildings owned by both legal entities and residents alike on May 1 and 4, August 21, November 11 and 18, and it is to be flown in mourning attire with black ribbon upon the same set of premises on March 25, June 14 and 17, July 4 and the first Sunday of December.

The administrative fines for not being in observance of the obligations following warnings – a monetary fine up to €40.

The claimant believes her right to the freedom to express her attitude not just verbally but also symbolically, conveying a message without the use of words. The state flag can be used by a person whenever their wish to express an attitude towards events in the nation. The obligatory requirement to fly the flag doesn’t ensure a person’s right to express one’s beliefs as to where, when and how to fly the flag.

The Court has now called on the Saeima to review the case and respond formally by March 7 with a factual brief and legal grounding for the law as it stands.

The case is to be heard by June 7 according to the schedule announced by the Constitutional Court this week. The specific hearing schedule will be ruled upon after the case has been prepared.

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