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President of Danish Free Press Society convicted for ‘Racism’
Danish Free Press Society
3 May 2011
The President of the Free Press Society, Lars Hedegaard, was declared guilty of racist statements.
Lars Hedegaard was today found guilty of hate speech under Article 266b of the Danish penal code. The background is a good 35 minutes long interview to the site snaphanen.dk which Hedegaard gave in December 2009.
Here Hedegaard said, among other things, that “girls in Muslim families are raped by their uncles, their cousins or their dad.”
Lars Hedegaard has previously expressed regret if his statements gave the impression that he would accuse all Muslims of abusing their children. The day after the interview he stressed that his opinions were about Islam and not Muslims.
In January Hedegaard was acquitted of racist statements in the lower court of Frederiksberg. The court believed that his statements were insulting, but the case was dismissed because he did not know that the interview, which took place during a Christmas lunch, would be published.
The prosecutor appealed the verdict to the Eastern Regional Court, which today claimed that Hedegaard knew his statements would be published. He is therefore declared guilty of racist statements.
Lars Hedegaard is sentenced to a fine of DKK 5,000 (approximately $1000).
Lars Hedegaard states:
The real losers today are freedom of speech and Muslim women. How can we speak up for them if we risk getting a state sanctioned label of racism?
Lars Hedegaard will appeal the verdict.
§ 266b of the Danish penal code:
“Whoever publicly or with the intent of public dissemination issues a pronouncement or other communication by which a group of persons are threatened, insulted or denigrated due to their race, skin colour, national or ethnic origin, religion or sexual orientation is liable to a fine or incarceration for up to two years.”