Finnish Prosecutor To Pursue Appeal Against Bishop Pohjola and MP Päivi Räsänen
Anu Mantila, the Finnish prosecutor who lost her attempt to prosecute Bishop Juhana Pohjola and MP Päivi Räsänen before the Helsinki District Court last month has publicly indicated her intention to pursue criminal proceedings to the next level of Finnish courts.
Paul Coleman, Executive Director of ADF International which funds legal defences against Christians said, “The state’s insistence on continuing this prosecution despite such a clear and unanimous ruling by the Helsinki District Court is alarming. Dragging people through the courts for years, subjecting them to hour-long police interrogations, and wasting taxpayer money in order to police people’s deeply held beliefs has no place in a democratic society. As is so often the case in “hate speech” trials, the process has become part of the punishment.”
Ms Räsänen responded to the news by saying, “This case has been hanging over me and my family for almost three years. After my full exoneration in court, I am dismayed that the prosecutor will not let this campaign against me drop. Once again, I am prepared to defend freedom of speech and religion not just for me, but for everyone. I am grateful for all those who have stood by me during this ordeal and ask for their continued support.”
Bishop Pohjola told the US news outlet Fox Digital, “Of course as Christians, we are called to forgive everybody, but I’m still worried about the damage this case has already [caused] for basic rights in our society. I know also that the gender ideology behind all this is not disappearing, but increasing in the society. I’m going keep on preaching Christ Crucified who was condemned for our sake and risen for our salvation. He is for me and all other sinners the only hope in this broken world!”
The Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland, the church body which Pohjola serves, said, “The defence denied the charges and criticised the prosecution for not presenting grounds for their accusations on the first day of the hearing, but rather concentrating on more general argumentation and biblical-theological deliberation. Since the prosecutors had failed to state the evidence for the charges, that left the defendants with little opportunity to defend themselves against those charges.”