An appeals court in Finland has dismissed bogus “hate speech” charges against pro-life Finnish lawmaker Päivi Räsänen in a massive victory for free speech and religious freedom.
Christian Democratic MP Päivi Räsänen criticized the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland, of which she belongs, for participating in a LGBT pride event in Helsinki.
“How can the church’s doctrinal foundation, the Bible, be compatible with the lifting up of shame and sin as a subject of pride?” Räsänen wrote on Facebook underneath a photo of verses from Romans 1:24-27.
The Helsinki Police Department received complaints about the post and decided to investigate Räsänen for an alleged “hate crime.”
The government’s agenda-driven investigation found two other instances for the rogue prosecutor to charge Räsänen, including a two-minute segment on a 2019 radio show and a pamphlet she authored, and her church published, in 2004 “Man and Woman He Created Them.”
Though Räsänen, 63, was unanimously acquitted by a Finnish District Court in 2022, prosecutors appealed her acquittal to the Helsinki Court of Appeal. Räsänen could have faced up to two years in prison, but yesterday an appeals court dropped the charges.
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The Helsinki Court of Appeal has dismissed all charges against her. In a unanimous ruling that upheld the district court’s March 2022 unanimous acquittal, the appeal court dismissed the arguments of the state prosecutor. It found that 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.”
“I am deeply relieved,” Räsänen said Nov. 14 via a statement from her legal representatives, the Alliance Defending Freedom International (ADF). “The court has fully endorsed and upheld the decision of the district court, which recognized everyone’s right to free speech.”
“It isn’t a crime to tweet a Bible verse, or to engage in public discourse with a Christian perspective,” the mother of five and grandmother of 11 added. “The attempts made to prosecute me for expressing my beliefs have resulted in an immensely trying four years, but my hope is that the result will stand as a key precedent to protect the human right to free speech. I sincerely hope other innocent people will be spared the same ordeal for simply voicing their convictions.”
Paul Coleman, executive director of ADF International, applauded the verdict: “While we celebrate this monumental victory, we also remember that it comes after four years of police investigations, criminal indictments, prosecutions, and court hearings.”
“So-called ‘hate-speech’ laws,” are a “grave threat to our democracies,” he explained.
“We applaud the Helsinki Court of Appeal’s ruling in this case, and we work towards the bigger victory when such ludicrous cases are no longer brought,” Coleman added. “In a free and democratic society, all should be allowed to share their beliefs without fear of censorship.”
Räsänen said she is not worried about herself, but she is concerned about freedom of speech.
“I am not concerned on my part, as I trust this will not move on to the prosecutor,” she wrote on Twitter.
Through intimidation, online censorship and government action, Christians and pro-life advocates increasingly are being persecuted for speaking up for their beliefs.
Pro-life doctors and nurses are being told to get out of their profession if they refuse to abort unborn babies. Pregnancy centers are being vandalized with rocks thrown through their windows and graffiti painted on their walls. Pro-life displays are being stolen and set on fire. And pro-life advocates are facing death threats, assaults and censorship online.
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