Basketball chief found not guilty of rascism

  • 2008-11-10
  • TBT staff in cooperation with BNS

Photo from archive

VILNIUS- The president of the Lithuanian Basketball Federation VladasGarastas was found not guilty of instigating racial hatred by referring to the blackplayers on the Zalgiris basketball team as "negroes" and"blackies" by the Prosecutor General's Office.

The preliminary investigation over potential public initiation against a groupof another nationality or other people on the grounds of their race,nationality and origin was dropped after finding no criminal elements inGarastas' actions.

The prosecutors began the investigation over Garastas' publicly expressedattitude toward black players in Lithuania'sZalgiris club after receiving a request from the Human Rights MonitoringInstitute.

The prosecutors have closed the investigation ruling that Garastas'interviewer didn't warn him the conversation is being taped and would bebroadcast publicly, therefore the federation's president might have beenmistaken in believing that he was being asked for his personal opinion.

Garastas' remark, for these reasons was not seen as intended to publiclyhumiliate, debase or instigate hatred against black individuals because oftheir race.

"Now about the negro playing in Zalgiris, I would expel himimmediately. Zygimantas Janavicius is twice as good as he is...","Education, there's no education there, with only the blackiesplaying," Kauno Diena dailycited in the end of Oct. Garastas, 76, as saying with reference to Zalgirisplayers from the United States.