The Helsinki Court of Appeal in Finland has accepted the Finnish prosecutor’s complaint and will reopen the case against Christian politician Päivi Räsänen.
The deputy was acquitted by Helsinki District Court in March, with a unanimous verdict that ruled that she acted within the bounds of the law in expressing her religious beliefs about homosexuality. Päivi Räsänen used her freedom of speech and religion when she referenced her biblical beliefs regarding LGBT issues, the judges heard.
But on May 31, the Helsinki Court of Appeal announced that it would reopen the case after a Prosecutor’s 26-page appeal.
Finnish sources claim that the process don’t start until fall and could start as late as 2023.
In a column published on Gospel orientationthe Christian doctor and former Finnish interior minister expressed in February that “Christians must be given the opportunity to agree with the Bible”. After winning her case in the first court, she said she was “grateful to have had this chance to defend freedom of expression”, despite the fact that it could take “many years”.
She stressed that she is “ready to defend freedom of expression and religion at all levels of justice necessary, even, if necessary, before the European Court of Human Rights”.
“For me,” Päivi Räsänen said in a press release on June 1, “the victory we won in the district court would have been adequate, but the acquittals in the higher courts have a broader meaning. The extended trial will allow thestablishment of a legal precedent on freedom of expression and religion even in a higher court. This would then serve as a legal guide regarding any similar charges in the future.”
Päivi Räsänen insists that prosecution strategy has been vitiated. “In its appeal, the Prosecution claims that my statements must be interpreted ‘objectively’, that is to say contrary to what I actually said. Throughout this process, what has been most distressing is the false testimony of the prosecution on my statements. It would be easier to defend my own opinions than to defend myself against interpretations that do not correspond to the truth, interpretations that are even contrary to my convictions”.
According to the member of the Christian Democrats and wife of a Lutheran pastor, another central problem in her case is that the prosecutor “openly attacks the fundamental teachings of the Christian faith, considering them offensive in themselves (…). prosecutor is on a crusade against the classical teachings of the Christian faithbut at the same time it opens, once again, an opportunity to bring the message of the Gospel into the courtroom”.
The case against Räsänen began in 2019 after a tweet in which she quoted Romans 1:24-27. She was later investigated by the police for a booklet titled “Male and Female, He Made Them” published 15 years earlier, and remarks on a radio show.
Räsänen has received the support of hundreds of Finns (including atheists and homosexuals) and his case has international repercussions.
Speaking to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance this year, she said: “Queen Esther was encouraged to speak and act on behalf of God’s people, the Jews, with the question, “And who knows, you may have been chosen to your royal position for a time like this.” The same question can be asked of us today, whatever your position.
More information on the Päivi Räsänen case in Finland.
Posted in: Evangelical focus – europe
– The Helsinki Court of Appeal announces that the Päivi Räsänen case will be reopened