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Päivi Räsänen and Paul Coleman - credit ADF International banner.png
ADF International
Päivi Räsänen and Paul Coleman - credit ADF International.png
ADF International
World News

Finnish MP cleared of hate speech charges in Bible-Tweet case to face appeal

by Kelly Valencia

Päivi Räsänen, the Finnish MP who was cleared of all hate speech charges last month, will have her victory appealed. 

A Finnish court had unanimously acquitted Ms Räsänen of all charges arguing that it was "not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts."

But the prosecution has now publicly stated its intentions to appeal the decision. 

Paul Coleman, chief executive of ADF International, the legal organisation representing Ms Räsänen, told Premier that by appealing the ruling, the prosecution seems to be wanting to protect her reputation. 

"The Helsinki court didn't just find in Päivi's favour and in on the side of the bishop, [it] also had issue with how the prosecutor had set up and framed the case, this is highly unusual. 

"So, in a sense, the prosecutor is not only continuing the case, but considers this to be almost an attack on her reputation because the way that the case was communicated in the media and the way that the decision was made by the Helsinki District Court, a lot of people now have been questioning not only why it was bought in the first place, but has the prosecutor in fact, lied in the indictment? Has the prosecutor actually misled the court in what she said Päivi has said?"

The former minister of the interior was facing up to six years in prison for Tweeting a Bible verse describing homosexuality as shameful in 2019 and for sharing her traditional Christian view on marriage in a TV debate and on a pamphlet. 

The court had ordered the prosecution to pay more than 60,000 EUR in legal costs. 

Reacting to the news, Ms Räsänen said: "This case has been hanging over me and my family for almost three years. After my full exoneration in court, I am dismayed that the prosecutor will not let this campaign against me drop. Once again, I am prepared to defend freedom of speech and religion not just for me, but for everyone. I am grateful for all those who have stood by me during this ordeal and ask for their continued support."

The prosecution has until the end of April to formally lodge the appeal. 
 

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