The Danish Supreme Court Acquittal of Hedegaard Still Denies Free Speech
Danish Free Press President Lars Hedegaard and his Counsel, Karoly Nemeth
When we posted on the dismissal of the conviction of Danish Free Press Society President Lars Hedegaard, we were hoping that the seven Justices of the Danish Supreme Court would also remand to the Danish national parliament the issue of “tightening “the language of Article 266B of the Penal Code to promote free speech. The hope was that the Court ruling might have provided a basis for the Danish national parliament to address the standard that we hold precious in the US, truth as fact is a defense. Such was not the case. That would have been precedent setting not only for Hedegaard in Denmark but others in the EU like Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff in Austria. Instead, as this translation of an article by the editors of Sappho.dk points out, the Danish Supreme Court ruled narrowly permitting possible future prosecution on grounds of racism and hate speech under Article 266b. One would hope that concerned members of the Danish national parliament, which has opposed such reforms in the past, would still bring up the matter to protect free speech of Hedegaard and others Danes from Lawfare by Muslims and their helpers on the left seeking to impose the muzzle of Islamic blasphemy rules denying free speech and the right to criticize Islamic doctrine.
The Danish Supreme court decision in the Hedegaard case should be a cautionary tale here in North America about adoption by the US and Canada of alleged best practices under the Istanbul process implementing the UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 of March 2011 “Combating Intolerance, Negative Stereotyping and Stigmatization of, and Discrimination, Incitement to Violence and Violence Against, Persons Based on Religion or Belief.” That UNHRC resolution, adopted at the much maligned Geneva human rights forum allegedly combating religious intolerance, was in reality nothing more than acceding to blasphemy demands of the 57 member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The OIC is a virtual rising Caliphate cited by Islamic scholar Bat Ye’or with its agenda of imposing blasphemy and apostasy codes on the West. This effort was elucidated in Silenced by Nina Shea and Paul Marshall of the Hudson Institute. OIC demands for adoption of blasphemy codes was visibly on display at the December 2011 plenary sessions held at the US Department of State in Washington, DC. We witnessed at those sessions in Foggy Bottom public promises by officials of the US Department of Justice and Homeland Security to adopt so-called "best practices."
Below is the Sappho.dk article translated from the Danish by Hedegaard on his acquittal with his comments about the lurking dangers under Article 2166b still permitted by the Danish Supreme Court ruling that overturned his Superior court conviction and acquitted him. It remains for Danes and all Europeans to press for what the Hon. Geert Wilders of the Freedom Party (PVV) in The Netherlands and others have espoused, an EU version of a US First Amendment affording basic free speech guarantees.
This verdict is not necessarily a victory for free speech, says Lars Hedegaard
By the Editors of Sappho.dk
(COPENHAGEN, 20 April 2012) A panel of seven Supreme Court justices led by Chief Justice Børge Dahl has acquitted Free Press Society President Lars Hedegaard, who stood accused of intentionally denigrating Muslims.
In a press release the Court states that "there has been no basis for convicting him of intentionally disseminating his remarks to a wider audience". Consequently, the Court can find no grounds for remitting the case for re-trial in Superior Court, which convicted Lars Hedegaard after he had been found not guilty in the lower court.
"I'm satisfied that the Supreme Court has delivered a verdict in accordance with the evidence given in lower and superior court. The prosecution had this evidence before it decided to press charges so I cannot understand why it went ahead.
The prosecutor has burdened the courts and the taxpayers needlessly for more than two years."
The truth still doesn't count
Lars Hedegaard goes on:
"This judgment is not necessarily a victory for free speech. Article 266b, under which I was charged, remains unchanged. It remains a disgrace to any civilised society and is an open invitation to frivolous trials. Thus, we still have no right to refer to truth if we are indicted under this article.
There have been several attempts to make 266b conform to normal standards of justice but successive governments and parliamentary majorities have steadfastly refused.
I am, however, happy that my acquittal means that at least the Supreme Court has set a limit to how deeply the State may penetrate one's private life. The Supreme Court has clearly upheld the principle that for a statement to be criminal, it must have been made with the intent of public dissemination. We may still talk freely in our own homes."
Continued struggle against 266b
"My personal reaction to more than two years of fatiguing litigation is to demand written guarantees from people who want to talk to me. With their signatures they must confirm that nothing be passed on without my express approval and without me having had a chance to vet it. This goes whether people are journalists or not.
I would advise everybody to do the same for we all know that the prosecutor lies in wait.
The Free Press Society will strengthen its struggle against the penal code's despicable article 266b."