Finland's former interior minister acquitted of inciting anti-LGBT hate speech

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By AP  with Euronews
Päivi Räsänen served as Finland's interior minister from 2011 to 2015.
Päivi Räsänen served as Finland's interior minister from 2011 to 2015.   -   Copyright  Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva via AP, File

A Finnish court has cleared the country's former interior minister of inciting anti-LGBT+ hate speech.

Christian Democrats MP Päivi Räsänen had been accused of describing homosexuality as a "disorder of psychosexual development".

Räsänen -- a doctor and former leader of the party -- had also allegedly described homosexuals as "dysfunctional".

The Helsinki District Court said that while some of her public statements may have been offensive, they did not constitute hate speech and didn’t fall outside freedom of speech laws.

The trial related to Räsänen's Twitter post in 2019, when she criticised the Finnish Lutheran Church for associating itself with a Gay Pride event.

The former minister had denied the charges and says she acted in the name of "freedom of expression and religion".

“I’m thankful to God and all my supporters,” Räsänen told reporters after the verdict on Wednesday, adding that she was “very happy and relieved”.

The MP said that she hadn't meant to insult anyone as “I know homosexuals and they are just as valuable as I am”.

Räsänen is well-known in Finland for her religious convictions and views against abortion and same-sex marriage.

Prosecutors had called for the MP to be fined up to €13,000 and said they will appeal the court's decision.

The landmark case in Finland has attracted attention abroad, where some European politicians and conservative Christian groups have pledged their support to Räsänen.