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Finnish MP legal fight over Bible tweet on homosexuality continues as Helsinki Court of Appeals reopens case

- June 7, 2022

The Helsinki Court of Appeals in Finland has accepted the complaint of the Finnish state prosecutor and will reopen the case against Christian Finnish MP Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Pohjola.

Both Rasanen and Bishop Pohjola were accused of hate speech for sharing their thoughts on marriage and sexual ethics on social media and on a pamphlet.

But in March, the court unanimously decided to dismiss all charges against them, arguing that “it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts.”

The court then ordered the prosecution to pay more than 60,000 EUR in legal costs. However, after announcing their intention to appeal almost a month ago, the prosecution appealed the District Court’s “not guilty” verdict on the 30th of April.

The prosecution is demanding tens of thousands of Euros in fines and insists that Räsänen’s and Pohjola’s publications should be censored.

That petition has now been accepted by the Helsinki Court of Appeals, which means the case will now be reopened.

Speaking to ADF, her legal team, Päivi Räsänen said: “After my full exoneration in court, I am dismayed that the prosecutor will not let this campaign against me drop and yet, the prosecutor’s decision to appeal, may lead to the case going all the way to the Supreme Court, offering the possibility of securing a positive precedent for freedom of speech and religion for all Finnish people.

“Also, I am happy that this decision will lead to the discussion of the Bible’s teachings in society. I am ready to defend freedom of speech and religion in all necessary courts. As far as the European Court of Human rights, if necessary,” she concluded.  

The case is not expected to start before autumn and could begin as late as some time in 2023.

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