Christian Parliamentarian Päivi Räsänen to Face Third Criminal Trial for “Hate Speech” Over Biblical Views

Farrukh Saif

May 13, 2024

“You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.”

Leviticus 18:22

In a concerning development for free speech advocates, Finland’s Supreme Court has announced that Christian parliamentarian Päivi Räsänen will face a third criminal trial for alleged “hate speech” stemming from her expression of biblical views on marriage and human sexuality.

The decision comes after the Finnish state prosecutor appealed Räsänen’s unanimous acquittals by both the Helsinki District Court and the Helsinki Court of Appeal. Despite the lower courts dismissing all charges against her, the prosecutor has relentlessly pursued the case, demanding hefty fines and insisting that Räsänen’s publications be censored.

Räsänen, a former Minister of the Interior and a medical doctor by profession was initially charged with three counts of “agitation against a minority group” under Finland’s criminal code. The charges related to her sharing a Bible verse on Twitter questioning the Finnish Lutheran Church’s support for an LGBTQ Pride event, comments made during a radio debate, and a 2004 pamphlet she authored titled “As Man and Woman He Created Them.”

The Supreme Court’s decision to admit the case for a third trial has drawn widespread criticism from human rights advocates and free speech organizations. They argue that the prolonged legal battle and repeated interrogations Räsänen has endured, including being questioned about her understanding of the Bible, amount to a severe infringement on her fundamental rights to freedom of speech and religion.

“After my full exoneration in two courts, I’m not afraid of a hearing before the Supreme Court,” Räsänen stated defiantly. “Even though I am fully aware that every trial carries risks, an acquittal from the Supreme Court would set an even stronger positive precedent for everyone’s right to free speech and religion.”

Räsänen’s case has garnered global attention and sparked concerns over the potential chilling effect on public discourse in Finland. Critics argue that the prosecution’s relentless pursuit of the case, despite clear legal precedents upholding Räsänen’s right to express her beliefs, sets a dangerous precedent for policing speech and beliefs in the country.

As the legal battle continues, Räsänen’s unwavering stance has made her a symbol of resistance against the encroachment of censorship and the erosion of fundamental freedoms in democratic societies.

Farrukh Saif

Farrukh H. Saif, a courageous Christian human rights activist, established the Farrukh Saif Foundation in 2009 to confront religious discrimination, blasphemy laws, and bonded slavery in Pakistan. His dedication to liberating bonded laborers from brick kilns and advocating for blasphemy victims and asylum seekers has garnered international acclaim. Despite encountering threats and fatwas, his impactful work persists in supporting marginalized communities. In 2018, the foundation merged with The Emergency Committee to Save the Persecuted and Enslaved, enhancing its global outreach.

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