Former Speaker Pavel Gantar fined over police tweet

Ljubljana – The police have fined Pavel Gantar, a former parliamentary speaker and minister, over a tweet he posted about the 5 October protest in Ljubljana, which comes after Police Commissioner Anton Olaj reported to the police an unknown perpetrator over a tweet he deemed offensive to the police and police officers.

Gantar wrote on 9 October that “organised gangs of citizens are circling around the city throwing tear gas at unsuspecting people and pouring water over them”.

This was in response to a Twitter user who said that the quality of life in Ljubljana was deteriorating because of anti-government protests.

Gantar later explained his tweet was meant ironically, but Olaj said it was insulting regardless of who wrote it or whom it targetted, so he filed a report.

A police station in Dolenjske Toplice now issued a EUR 250 fine based on the protection of public order law. It said that by committing this offence, Gantar had caused Olaj “a feeling of distress”.

Responding, Gantar took to Twitter writing “Article 133”, in reference to the infamous article 133 of the Yugoslav penal code, which criminalised “verbal delict”, and was often used to keep political opponents at bay.

Gantar served as environment minister and information society minister in the Liberal Democrat-led governments in the 1990s and 2000s, while serving as parliamentary speaker during a term of the Borut Pahor government in 2008-2011.

Olaj had reported several individuals, including opposition SD MP Matjaž Nemec, for insult and abuse citing violations of the protection of public order act.