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Round Three in the Trial of Lars Hedegaard
by Ann Snyder
In Denmark, sticks and stones may break your bones, but insulting words will get you fined — to the tune of 5,000 kroner (or about $1,000). Article 266(b) of the Danish penal code, one of the more sweeping of the "hate speech" provisions, criminalizes, among other things, merely insulting groups of people due to their membership in enumerated protected classes.
On April 13, 2012, Lars Hedegaard — a journalist, historian, and president of the Danish Free Press Society – takes the appeal of his conviction under Article 266(b) to the Danish Supreme Court. Readers may recall that back in January of 2011, Hedegaard was tried and acquitted for remarks he made during a 2009 interview concerning sexual abuse within Muslim communities. (In a related story, Danish MP Jesper Langballe "confessed," pleading guilty to violating Article 266(b) for remarks he made in support of Hedegaard.) But, in a strange twist, Hedegaard's acquittal was appealed. He was retried on April 26, 2011, and convicted on May 3.
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