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Finland: Free speech victory as politician is cleared of criminal charges over Bible tweet, but prosecutors will not let it drop

Finland: Free speech victory as politician is cleared of criminal charges over Bible tweet, but prosecutors will not let it drop
Päivi Räsänen speaks to reporters
ET staff writer
ET staff writer
22 April, 2022 2 min read

A politician in Finland who faced up to six years in jail for quoting from the Bible on Twitter has been cleared of all charges.

A judge ruled that Päivi Räsänen was not guilty of hate speech, and the judge said it was ‘not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts’.

Co-defendant Bishop Juhana Pohjola was also cleared of hate speech charges relating to him publishing a pamphlet on biblical marriage.

In dismissing the charges, the judge ordered the prosecution to pay more than 60,000 EUR in legal costs.

However, prosecutors say they intend to challenge the ruling in a higher court. They have until the end of April to formally lodge an appeal.

Räsänen is Finland’s former minister of the interior, and a member of the Finnish Christian Democrats party.

In 2019 she tweeted a Bible verse describing homosexuality as shameful, and she took part in a radio debate sharing her biblical beliefs about marriage.

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