This article originally appeared on WND.com
Guest by post by Bob Unruh
Has lost twice in lower courts, now going to nation’s highest judiciary
Twice, a lawmaker has been cleared by a court of “hate speech” for posting a Bible verse online.
But the prosecutor, in Finland, is insisting on appealing his latest loss to the nation’s Supreme Court.
A report from the ADF reveals, “The Finnish state prosecutor will appeal the second unanimous court decision that exonerated Finnish Member of Parliament Päivi Räsänen and Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola of ‘hate speech’ allegations for sharing their faith-based beliefs.”
The organization says the twice-failed prosecutor is demanding “tens of thousands of Euros in fines and insisting that Räsänen’s and Pohjola’s publications be censored.”
The decision follows a ruling last November from the Helsinki Court of Appeals that dismissed all claims against Räsänen and Pohjola, citing the evidence in the case and affirming a lower court’s ruling for the same reasons.
“After my full exoneration in two courts, I’m not afraid of a hearing before the Supreme Court,” said Räsänen, in a statement released by ADF. “Even though I am fully aware that every trial carries risks, an acquittal from the Supreme Court would set an even stronger positive precedent for everyone’s right to free speech and religion. And if the court decided to overturn the lower courts’ acquittals, I am ready to defend freedom of speech and religion as far as the European Court of Human rights, if necessary.”
The ADF report explained that Räsänen, who previously was minister of the interior, was accused by extremists in that nation’s government of “hate speech” for “sharing her faith-based views on marriage and sexual ethics in a 2019 tweet, during a 2019 radio discussion, and in a 2004 church pamphlet.”
Pohjola was accused because he published Räsänen’s pamphlet for his congregation.
“The state’s insistence on continuing this prosecution despite such a clear and unanimous ruling by both the Helsinki District Court and Court of Appeal is alarming,” warned Paul Coleman, of ADF International.
“Dragging people through the courts for years, subjecting them to hour-long police interrogations, and wasting taxpayer money to police people’s deeply held beliefs has no place in a democratic society. As is so often the case in ‘hate speech’ trials, the process has become the punishment,” he explained of the organization’s client.
WND reported when the appeals court cleared the Finnish lawmaker of those claims.
That court ruled it “has no reason, on the basis of the evidence received at the main hearing, to assess the case in any respect differently from the district court. There is therefore no reason to alter the final result of the district court’s judgment.”
Coleman said, at the time, “At the heart of the prosecutor’s examination of Räsänen was this: Would she recant her beliefs? The answer was no – she would not deny the teachings of her faith.”
“The cross-examination bore all the resemblance of a ‘heresy’ trial of the Middle Ages; it was implied that Räsänen had ‘blasphemed’ against the dominant orthodoxies of the day.”
The district court had ruled earlier against the prosecutor’s attempt to convict her, the ADF explained. The appeals court ordered the prosecution to pay her legal fees.
Her offense was her expression of her Christian beliefs on marriage and sexual ethics in a 2019 tweet, in addition to a 2019 live radio debate and 2004 church pamphlet.
#kirkko on ilmoittanut olevansa #seta n #Pride2019 virallinen partneri. Miten kirkon oppiperusta, #raamattu sopii yhteen sen kanssa, että häpeä ja synti nostetaan ylpeyden aiheeksi? pic.twitter.com/cnjAQCrOc2
— Päivi Räsänen (@PaiviRasanen) June 17, 2019
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