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Finnish MP faces criminal charges for posting a Bible-tweet


Topic | Freedom of Speech

In Finland, the Former Minister of the Interior and Member of the Finnish Parliament Päivi Räsänen is facing three criminal charges. Her alleged crime: She publicly voiced her deeply held beliefs.

The Finnish Prosecutor General brought three criminal charges against Päivi Räsänen at the end of April 2021.The former Minister of the Interior now faces two years of imprisonment. The medical doctor, mother of five, and grandmother of seven is ​​accused of having engaged in “hate speech” for publicly voicing her opinion on marriage and human sexuality in a 2004 pamphlet, for comments made on a 2019 radio show, and a tweet directed at her church leadership.

Päivi Räsänen

District Court of Helsinki

Advocacy Team:
Paul Coleman

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“I will defend my right to confess my faith, so that no one else would be deprived of their right to freedom of religion and speech…The more Christians keep silent on controversial themes, the narrower the space for freedom of speech gets.”

Case Summary

Police investigations against Räsänen started in June 2019. As an active member of the Finnish Lutheran church, she addressed the leadership of her church and questioned its official sponsorship of the LGBT event ‘Pride 2019’, accompanied by an image of a Bible text. Räsänen has already attended several lengthy police interviews about her views and had to wait over a year for the General Prosecutor to decide whether to continue with the prosecution. That decision was made in April 2021 and ADF International will continue supporting Räsänen’s defense and the right for everyone to freely share their beliefs.

Päivi Räsänen has served as a member of the Finnish Parliament since 1995, and was Minister of the Interior from 2011-2015. She is a medical doctor, mother of five children, and has seven grandchildren.

“Freedom of speech is one of the cornerstones of democracy. The Finnish Prosecutor General’s decision to bring these charges against Dr. Räsänen creates a culture of fear and censorship. If committed civil servants like Päivi Räsänen are criminally charged for voicing their deeply held beliefs, it creates a chilling effect for everyone’s right to speak freely, ”said Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International and author of “Censored“.

Trial Awaits
Päivi Räsänen and Bishop Pohjola will face trial on 24 January 2022 for sharing their deeply held beliefs.
Criminally Charged
The Finnish Prosecutor General brings three criminal charges against Päivi Räsänen on 29 April 2021.
Räsänen faces 3rd Interrogation
“I will defend my right to confess my faith, so that no one else would be deprived of their right to free speech.”
Another Police Interrogation
On 2 March 2020, the police interrogated Päivi Räsänen a second time following the first interrogation in Nov. about the tweet.
Räsänen Faces Further Investigation
On 4 Nov. 2019, the Prosecutor General announces that Räsänen will face investigation into a pamphlet she wrote for her church in 2004 on human sexuality.
In June 2019, the board of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland announces its official partnership with the LGBT event “Pride 2019”. Päivi Räsänen directs a tweet at her church leadership questioning this decision.
24 January 2022
29 April 2021
August 2020
March 2020
November 2019
June 2019

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