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Finnish court unanimously clears former politician of hate crime

Finnish Parliament Building, Helsinki, Finland
Credit: Janne Hellsten/Wikipedia/Creative Commons 2.0

A former Finnish politician and cabinet minister, Päivi Räsänen, was unanimously cleared by a court after Finnish police charged her with a hate crime for posting a Bible verse about homosexuality on Facebook.

At the time she wrote the post in 2019, Räsänen was directing her attention at the leadership of the Evangelical Lutheran Church (ELC), which she believed was backing away from its Biblical foundation. Her husband was serving as an ELC pastor at the time.

If convicted, Räsänen was facing a potential jail sentence of six years. The court also ordered the Finnish justice system to pay over 60,000 EUR for Räsänen’s legal costs. There is no indication if the government will appeal the decision.

The Blaze explains:

On Wednesday, Evangelical Focus reported that the Helsinki District Court dismissed all charges against Räsänen by unanimous vote.

In its ruling, the court said that it is “not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts.”

Räsänen said she was happy with the outcome following the decision.

“This is the decision I expected,” she said in a press conference. “I very much appreciate that the decision recognizes the importance of freedom of expression and freedom of religion. I am pleased that the decision appears to be very thorough and inclusive. It draws heavily on the European Court of Human Rights’ principles of freedom of expression and also carefully goes through what I have said.”

READ: Politician who was charged with a hate crime for sharing a Bible verse on Facebook is unanimously AND Victory for Finnish MP who faced jail over Bible tweet on homosexuality

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