HELSINKI, Finland — A Helsinki court has dismissed “hate speech” charges against a Finnish Parliament member and a Lutheran bishop who were on trial for expressing Christian beliefs.
Helsinki Court of Appeal dismissed all charges against Paivi Rasanen, a Parliament member since 1995, and Juhana Pohjola, a Lutheran bishop, according to Alliance Defending Freedom International, which coordinated Rasanen’s legal defense.
The prosecution was ordered to cover the thousands of dollars of legal fees Rasanen and Pohjola have incurred during the four-year ordeal.
In March 2022, the District Court acquitted both defendants, reported ADF International. The prosecutor appealed the decision, which resulted in another trial Aug. 31 this year.
The prosecution in 2021 used a Finnish criminal code about “war crimes and crimes against humanity” to charge Rasanen with three counts of “agitation against a minority group.”
Rasanen had expressed her Christian beliefs about marriage and human sexuality. The charges focused on a 2019 tweet questioning the decision of Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland for sponsoring Helsinki’s Pride parade, on a 2019 radio debate and on the 2004 church pamphlet, “Male and Female He Created Them,” that she wrote.
Pohjola was charged for publishing Rasanen’s pamphlet for congregants, stated ADF International.