Parliament member Päivi Räsänen won in court after all charges against her were dismissed after she was accused of hate speech for tweeting a Bible verse.
Räsänen was charged in 2021 with “agitation against a minority group” for tweeting the Bible verse.
The charge fell under the “war crimes and crimes against humanity” section in the Finnish criminal code.
However, the Helsinki Court of Appeal found Räsänen not guilty on Tuesday, saying a district court ruling that acquitted her in March 2022, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
Räsänen sent a tweet 2019 sharing a Bible verse and questioning her church’s sponsorship of a pride parade.
She also shared statements about her beliefs on a 2019 radio show and a 2004 pamphlet she published titled “Male & Female He Created Them.”
The pamphlet’s publisher, Lutheran Bishop Juhana Pohjola, was tried alongside Räsänen.
Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International and part of Räsänen’s legal team said in a statement:
“At the heart of the prosecutor’s examination of Räsänen was this: would she recant her beliefs?”
“The answer was no – she would not deny the teachings of her faith.”
“The cross-examination bore all the resemblance of a ‘heresy’ trial of the middle ages; it was implied that Räsänen had ‘blasphemed’ against the dominant orthodoxies of the day.”
ADF President Kristen Waggoner tweeted that Räsänen’s victory “should resonate globally.”
“Free speech isn’t just an American political liberty,” Waggoner tweeted.
“It’s a human right. What happened to Päivi should not happen in any free society. We are grateful for this victory.”
After the court’s ruling, Räsänen said she was “deeply relieved.”
This is a monumental victory for free speech and one that should resonate globally as censorship has become a significant threat to individuals of faith around the world.— Kristen Waggoner (@KWaggonerADF) November 14, 2023
Free speech isn’t just an American political liberty. It’s a human right. What happened to Päivi should not… https://t.co/lXf2tJUPVc
“It isn’t a crime to tweet a Bible verse or to engage in public discourse with a Christian perspective,” Räsänen said in a statement.
“The attempts made to prosecute me for expressing my beliefs have resulted in an immensely trying four years, but my hope is that the result will stand as a key precedent to protect the human right to free speech.”