Bucharest Appeals Court upholds President’s hate speech fine

On Friday, the Romanian Appeals Court upheld a RON 5,000 (EUR 1,000) fine the National Anti-Discrimination Council (CNCD) slapped on President Klaus Iohannis last year for his discriminatory remarks against the country’s ethnic Hungarian minority.

On April 29, 2020, Iohannis published a short video message in which he accused the ethnic Hungarian minority in Transylvania, the Social Democratic Party and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of plotting to give Transylvania to Hungary.

“It is incredible what kind of agreements are being reached in the Romanian Parliament,” Iohannis said. “While we, myself, the government and the other authorities are fighting the coronavirus outbreak, the Romanian Social Democrat Party, the big Romanian Social Democrat Party, is fighting in secret parliamentary offices to give Transylvania to the Hungarians.” In the opening of his statement, he even addressed the PSD in Hungarian, saying “Jó napot kívánok, PSD!” (Good day, PSD).

CNCD fined Iohannis on May 20, 2020, and the same day, Iohannis said he would appeal the decision, which he considered “profoundly political.” Now, the Bucharest Appeals Court has upheld the decision, ruling that Iohannis’ statement “represents an act of discrimination and violates the right to dignity on the basis of ethnic/national affiliation.”

Iohannis (61), a physics teacher by training, belongs himself to an ethnic minority, the German one. The law allows Iohannis to appeal the sentence a second time, within 15 days.

Title image: Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. (source: Facebook)




Author: Dénes Albert