Hedegaard acquitted

Lars Hedegaard has been acquitted of on the charge of denigrating and insulting Muslims. The ground of acquittal was that his comments were not intended for public dissemination. How, then, did the remarks come to the attention of the prosecutor? I initially was under the impression (see Hedegaard’s correction below) that someone who was present in Hedegaard’s living room during the discussion, taped it and posted it on the Internet, without Hedegaard’s approval. How about that? Leave aside for the moment the idea that making an arguably factual statement about Islam is a crime for which you can be tried and imprisoned. Now even a statement made in the privacy of one’s home can be grounds for prosecution, if it gets published or spread on the Web in some form. Europeans might as well be living in Communist Russia.

Further, since the prosecutors knew all along that the statement was made in Hedegaard’s home, why did they spend a year prosecuting him, only to drop the case? To spread a message of intimidation? Or did they hope to convict him notwithstanding the privately intended nature of the remark? Here is Hedegaard’s response to the acquittal, posted at the site of the International Free Press Society. Below is his February 1 e-mail to me correcting my above account and explaining the reasons for the acquittal:

Lars Hedegaard writes:

1. I gave a taped interview—whose content I knew was for publication (but of course not verbatim and unedited).

2. Without my knowledge the interviewer also videoed the interview by means of a cell phone.

3. He then posted sound and video on the internet verbatim and unedited without me having had a chance to review it and authorize it for public dissemination.

4. My counsel argued that I could not be held legally responsible for comments that I had neither reviewed nor authorised. Had I had this opportunity, I would of course have demanded alterations to what was published.

5. This was the legal basis on which I was acquitted and the only one possible as one is not allowed to prove the truth of one’s allegations in cases brought under Article 266b of the penal code. It is absurd but true.

6. It was not the judge who talked about a technicality. That was my interpretation after the verdict.

7. The public prosecutor had known the facts surrounding the interview since January 24, 2010 and must have known that there was no legal basis for pressing charges.

Posted February 5

Mr. Hedegaard adds:

One thing: The prosecutor didn’t drop the case but went to court with it and was overruled by the judge, who found in my favour.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at February 03, 2011 08:49 AM | Send

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