‘Hate speech’ trial against Finnish MP begins – EURACTIV.com
Päivi Räsänen, a former Christian Democrat MP who chaired the party and interior minister from 2011 to 2015, will be in court on Monday following her remarks about homosexuality, which she described as a “developmental disorder”.
Räsänen, a doctor by profession, made comments on the Luther Foundation’s website, Twitter and a radio show on TV station YLE that incited hatred, contempt and intolerance, according to the attorney general.
The prosecutor also said that calling homosexuality a “developmental disability” was derogatory and violated the dignity and equality of a minority group.
The legal action against the MP – which she and her faith community called “shocking” – began in 2019. Räsänen says her remarks are based on the Bible.
Räsänen, who claims to be a defender of universal human rights, rejected the accusations of insulting or threatening anyone. Theological issues should not be resolved in court because, in a free society, they belong to the realms of free speech and religious freedom, Räsänen said.
The trial, which must be followed closely by lawyers, is considered historic. It will define the limits of free speech and confirm whether personal religious beliefs warrant controversial language.
The trial attracted a lot of attention, including outside Finland. Demonstrations in support of Räsänen took place outside the Finnish embassy in Oslo, and further demonstrations are also expected outside the Helsinki courthouse on Monday.
(Pekka Vantinen | EURACTIV.com)