Free Speech on Trial in Europe

“The “hate speech” trial of Lars Hedegaard, the president of the Danish Free Press Society and the International Free Press Society, began in a courthouse near Copenhagen on January 24. Hedegaard, who has been charged with “racism” for critical comments he made about Islam, faces up to two years in prison.

The Hedegaard trial is the second one in Denmark involving Islam-related “hate speech” in as many months. On December 3, 2010, a Danish court found Jesper Langballe, a Danish politician and Member of Parliament, guilty of hate speech for saying that honor killings and sexual abuse take place in Muslim families.

Langballe was denied the opportunity to prove his allegations because, under Danish law, it is immaterial whether a statement is true or false. All that is needed for a conviction is for someone to feel offended. Langballe was summarily sentenced to pay a fine of 5,000 Danish Krone (approximately $1,000) or spend ten days in jail”

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