Skip to content

Freedom of speech on trial again in Europe

Update: After a unanimous court decision to acquit Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Pohjola appealed the “not guilty” verdict, pushing criminal proceedings against the Finnish MP and bishop into their fourth year.

August 2023: Päivi Räsänen will face second trial in major free speech case

Despite Päivi’s victory, the prosecution continues to challenge free speech. Help us continue defending freedom of speech around the world with your gift today!

Play Video

By loading the video, you agree to YouTube's privacy policy.
Learn more

Load video

Play Video

Finnish member of parliament Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Juhana Pohjola were unanimously acquitted of all “hate speech” charges on 30 March, 2022. The District Court of Helsinki concluded that “it is not for the district court to interpret biblical concepts”. It also ordered the prosecution to pay more than 60,000 EUR in legal costs.

Unlike many other legal systems, under Finnish law the prosecutor can appeal “not guilty” verdicts all the way to the Supreme Court of Finland. Päivi has expressed that she is willing to defend freedom of speech at every instance, even the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.

So, meet the grandmother who never thought she would be put on trial for sharing her beliefs in public.

Police investigations against Päivi started in June 2019. As an active member of the Finnish Lutheran church, she had addressed the leadership of her church on Twitter and questioned its official sponsorship of the LGBT event ‘Pride 2019’, accompanied by an image of Bible verses from the book of Romans.

Following this tweet, further investigations against Päivi were launched, going back to a church pamphlet she wrote almost 20 years ago.

In April 2021, Finland’s Prosecutor General brought three criminal charges against Päivi. She has since endured over thirteen hours of police interrogations, months of waiting for court proceedings, an onerous and invasive trial, and a multitude of lies spread by the media. In February 2022, Bishop Pohjola stood trial alongside Päivi for publishing the 2004 pamphlet.

Learn more about Päivi and this case

"*" indicates required fields


Your Donation Helps:

Donations received in excess of the target amount will go towards our ongoing global work.

Your Donation Helps:

Defend the freedom of Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Pohjola

Uphold freedom of speech around the world

Build solidarity with those suffering for their beliefs

Donations received in excess of the target amount will go towards our ongoing global work.