Fight continues for Finnish MP who tweeted about marriage and sexuality

Päivi Räsänen (c) was cleared of all charges.(Photo: ADF International)

Finland's state prosecutor is to appeal after a Christian MP was cleared of hate speech for publicly sharing her views on marriage and sexuality.

Päivi Räsänen, former Finnish Minister of the Interior, stood trial alongside Bishop Juhana Pohjola.

Räsänen was charged over comments in a 2019 tweet, a 2019 radio debate, and a 2004 marriage pamphlet. Bishop Pohjola faced charges for publishing the pamphlet.

They were brought to trial despite Finnish police recommending that no further action be taken.

On 30 March, the Helsinki District Court unanimously dismissed all charges against them. 

In its judgment, the court said "it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts". It also ordered the prosecution to pay over 60,000 EUR in legal costs. 

The state prosecutor has now signalled its intention to appeal the verdict. 

Reacting to the news, 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."

After a yearslong battle to clear their name, ADF International, which has defended the pair, said it was "alarming" that the case is set to continue.

"The state's insistence on continuing this prosecution despite such a clear and unanimous ruling by the Helsinki District Court is alarming," said ADF's executive director, Paul Coleman.

"Dragging people through the courts for years, subjecting them to hour-long police interrogations, and wasting taxpayer money in order to police people's deeply held beliefs has no place in a democratic society.

"As is so often the case in 'hate speech' trials, the process has become part of the punishment."