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Danish Supreme Court Acquits Hedegaard
by Ann Snyder
On April 20, 2012 in a 7-0 decision, the Danish Supreme Court acquitted Lars Hedegaard of violating Article 266(b), the infamous "hate speech" provision of the Danish penal code.
Hedegaard's case has been winding its way through the courts for some time now. Readers will recall that he was first acquitted and then retried and convicted—a decision he appealed to the country's highest court.
By its plain language, Article 266(b) requires that for statements to be actionable under the provision, they must be made "publicly or with the intent of public dissemination." Finding no such intent to publicly disseminate, the court concluded there was no basis for convicting him and hence no reason to remand the case for further proceedings. Thus, the Supreme Court's decision brings to a close Hedegaard's two-year ordeal.
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