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Refunds for Thousands of COVID Fines In Slovenia have Commenced

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Slovenia Repays Fines for Pandemic Control Breaches

The Slovenian government has announced that it will be repaying thousands of fines issued to citizens who violated masking and social distancing orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. Around €5.7 million in fines were issued between March 2020 and May 2022, with €1.7 million already paid in penalties set to be refunded.

The new legislation, passed in September, aims to rectify the excesses of pandemic policing under the previous government. Justice Minister Dominika Švarc Pipan described it as an effort to address the “injustices that were committed against citizens through the abuse of criminal law and unconstitutional and excessive encroachment on human rights”.

The refunds will apply to all infractions, and the individuals’ official records will be updated to remove any mention of the fines. Enforcement proceedings for the penalties will also be stopped.

One of the notable cases that sparked public outrage was that of a delivery driver who was fined €400 for briefly lowering his mask to eat a snack outdoors while alone. The incident, which was captured in a widely circulated photograph, prompted criticism of the police’s enforcement of lockdown instructions as excessive.

Slovenia, like many other nations, faced protests against its strict pandemic measures, including restrictions on movement and assembly, as well as the requirement to wear masks outdoors. The previous right-leaning government was replaced by a centre-left coalition in the April 2022 parliamentary election, with concerns about authoritarianism and a desire to restore freedom being key issues in the campaign.

Prime Minister Robert Golob, on the night of his election, celebrated “a victory that will enable us to take the country back to freedom”. The new government’s actions to refund COVID fines and address concerns about civil liberties are seen as a significant step in that direction.

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Photo credit www.euronews.com

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