HELSINKI, Finland — Finland’s state prosecutor is appealing a Lutheran’s exoneration on “hate speech” charges and demanding a significant fine and censorship of the woman’s publications.
On March 30, Helsinki District Court unanimously acquitted Paivi Rasanen, a medical doctor, member of parliament since 1995 and minister of the interior from 2011 to 2015. The court further ordered the prosecution to pay more than 60,000 euros in legal fees.
In Finland the prosecutor general can appeal “not guilty” verdicts, and on April 30, the prosecutor filed the appeal of Rasanen’s acquittal, according to the legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom International.
Hate speech charges
The legal saga began in April 2021 when the prosecutor general charged Rasanen with hate speech, though police had strongly recommended not pursuing the case.
The three charges against her stemmed from the sharing of her faith-based views on marriage and human sexuality in a 2019 radio debate, a 2004 pamphlet and a 2019 tweet in which she was critical of her church’s sponsorship of the LGBT Pride 2019 event.
Juhana Pohjola, bishop of the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, also was charged for having published one of Rasanen’s pamphlets for his congregants 17 years ago. On March 30, the court dismissed charges against him as well, ADF International reported.
The prosecutor is appealing Pohjola’s acquittal and seeks to fine and censor his publications.