Supreme Court Finland accepts appeal case against Päivi Räsänen


Northern Europe


Päivi Räsänen will have to stand trial again for her statements about homosexuals. Photo ADF International

The Finnish Supreme Court decided on Friday to accept the appeal of the prosecutor against Christian Democratic MP Päivi Räsänen. It is the next step in a long legal battle.

Räsänen is accused of insulting homosexuals as a group in an old article and on her social media. That is reported by the Finnish news website Iltalehti. The Helsinki District Court had already acquitted her of all charges brought against her, including another accusation of insult during a radio programme. Also, the Helsinki Court of Appeal deemed Mrs. Räsänen not guilty of all charges. Both courts issued the ruling unanimously.

Charges brought against Räsänen

First, Räsänen tweeted in 2019 that the Finnish Lutheran Church should withdraw its support for the gay pride, since the Bible calls the homosexual practice a “shameful sin”. According to the prosecutor, this demand is demeaning and discriminatory.

Second, it became known that Räsänen had written a brochure “Male and female He created them” in 2004 for the Lutheran Foundation. In this pamphlet, she explained the Biblical teaching about marriage and sexuality, and those teachings were seen as insulting by the prosecutor. Also, the director of this foundation, bishop Juhana Pohjola, is kept responsible for the brochure since he ordered its publication.

Third, in December 2019, Räsänen was invited by Ruben Stiller to a satirical radio show from the Yle broadcaster titled “What did Jesus think about homosexuals?” In this show, the MP defended the same views but in a livelier way. The prosecutor even demanded the deletion of the records of this program.

However, the public prosecutor, Anu Mantila, disagreed with all rulings and already announced to appeal the decision of the Helsinki Court of Appeal in November last year.

Later, Mantila made known that she would drop the charge concerning the statements made during the radio programme. However, she remained determined to bring Räsänen to trial for the other charges.

Peaceful mind

Now, the Supreme Court announced that it accepts the appeal case. “I will continue to fight for freedom of speech before the Supreme Court of Finland”, Räsänen states in a press release in reaction to the decision. She says to have a peaceful mind. “The acquittal from the Supreme Court would establish a stronger legal precedent on freedom of expression and religion compared to the rulings of the lower instance courts”, Räsänen adds.

The process against Räsänen has been ongoing for almost five years. Räsänen has been on trial together with bishop Juhana Pohjola from the Evangelical Lutheran Missionary Diocese of Finland, who was responsible for publishing the brochure in which Räsänen made her controversial statements.


ADF's International Executive Director Paul Coleman, who supports Räsänen's legal defence, calls the acceptance of the appeal case a watershed. “The state’s insistence on continuing this prosecution after almost five long years, despite such clear and unanimous rulings from the lower courts is alarming”, he says in a press release of ADF International.



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