October 25, 2018
[Can we please send this to the French ‘defenders of Free Speech’]
< 1 min read
Austria – The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) passed the verdict on Thursday that insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammed will be punishable offence and will not be counted under ‘freedom of expression’.
The court was compelled to pass the verdict after an Austrian woman Mrs. S insulted the Prophet in 2009 in two different seminars.
The Panel of seven judges said, defaming or demeaning the Prophet goes beyond permissible limits of an objective debate and could cause prejudice in the society and will risk religious peace.
The court said that the Mrs. S’ comments did not abide by freedom of expression, and stated that “the applicant’s statements had been likely to arouse justified indignation in Muslims” and “amounted to a generalization without factual basis.”
Austrian court trialed her in 2011 for disparaging religious doctrines and fined her 480 euros.
Based on Article-10 which permits freedom of expression, Mrs. S. complained that the domestic courts failed to address the substance of the impugned statements in the light of her right to freedom of expression.
However, ECHR today said,
On today’s ruling, the ECHR said “the domestic courts comprehensively assessed the wider context of the applicant’s statements and carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria.”
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According to UK’s DailyMail, the ECHR had ruled in October 2018 that the freedom of speech rights of an Austrian woman were not infringed when she was convicted by domestic courts for calling Prophet Mohammed a ‘paedophile.’
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[EXCERPTS, for the whole text please see the url below.]
In the case of E.S. v. Austria,
The European Court of Human Rights
The applicant complained that her criminal conviction for disparaging religious doctrines (Herabwürdigung religiöser Lehren) had violated her right to freedom of expression under Article 10 of the Convention.
She was however convicted of disparaging religious doctrines (Herabwürdigung religiöser Lehren), pursuant to Article 188 of the Criminal Code, concerning the three remaining statements. She was ordered to pay the costs of the proceedings and a day‑fine of 4 euros (EUR) for a period of 120 days (amounting to EUR 480 in total), which would result in sixty days’ imprisonment in the event of default. The court considered the applicant’s repeated infringements to be an aggravating factor and the fact that she did not have a previous criminal record to be a mitigating factor. The court found her guilty of publicly disparaging an object of veneration of a domestic church or religious society – namely Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam – in a manner capable of arousing justified indignation (geeignet, berechtigtes Ärgernis zu erregen).
I. THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF THE CASE
- The applicant was born in 1971 and lives in Vienna.
- From January 2008 she held several seminars entitled “Basic Information on Islam” (Grundlagen des Islams) at the right-wing Freedom Party Education Institute (Bildungsinstitut der Freiheitlichen Partei Österreichs).
13. The statements (2 of 3) which the court found incriminating were the following:
“I./ 1. One of the biggest problems we are facing today is that Muhammad is seen as the ideal man, the perfect human, the perfect Muslim. That means that the highest commandment for a male Muslim is to imitate Muhammad, to live his life. This does not happen according to our social standards and laws. Because he was a warlord, he had many women, to put it like this, and liked to do it with children. And according to our standards he was not a perfect human. We have huge problems with that today, that Muslims get into conflict with democracy and our value system ...
2. The most important of all Hadith collections recognised by all legal schools: The most important is the Sahih Al-Bukhari. If a Hadith was quoted after Bukhari, one can be sure that all Muslims would recognise it. And, unfortunately, in Al-Bukhari the thing with Aisha and child sex is written...
“I./1. Eines der großen Probleme, die wir heute haben, ist dass Mohammed als der ideale Mann, der perfekte Mensch, der perfekte Muslim gesehen wird. Das heißt, das oberste Gebot für einen männlichen Moslem ist es, Mohammed nachzumachen, sein Leben zu leben. Das läuft nicht nach unseren sozialen Standards und Gesetzen ab. Weil er war ein Kriegsherr, hatte einen relativ großen Frauenverschleiß, um das jetzt einmal so auszudrücken, hatte nun mal gerne mit Kindern ein bisschen was. Und er war nach unseren Begriffen kein perfekter Mensch. Damit haben wir heute riesige Probleme, weil Muslime mit der Demokratie und unserem Wertesystem in Konflikt geraten...
2. Die wichtigsten von allen Rechtsschulen anerkannten Hadith-Sammlungen: Die allerwichtigste ist die Sahih Al-Bukhari. Wenn eine Hadith nach Bukhari zitiert wurde, dann können Sie sicher sein, dass es alle Muslime anerkennen. Und in der Al-Bukhari ist auch blöderweise das geschrieben mit der Aisha und dem Kindersex...
Even if the applicant had had the right to criticise others’ attempts to imitate Muhammad, her statements showed her intention to unnecessarily disparage and deride Muslims. Harsh criticism of churches or religious societies (Religionsgesellschaften) and religious traditions and practices was lawful. However, the permissible limits were exceeded where criticism ended and insults or mockery of a religious belief or person of worship (Beschimpfung oder Verspottung einer Religion oder von ihr verehrten Personen) began.
On 11 December 2013 the Supreme Court dismissed the request for a renewal of the proceedings. As regards the alleged violation of Article 10, it found that the applicant’s conviction under Article 188 of the Criminal Code constituted an interference with the right to freedom of expression, which had however been justified under Article 10 § 2 of the Convention.
The Court had stated many times that in the context of religion member states had a duty to suppress certain forms of conduct or expression that were gratuitously offensive to others and profane. In cases where the impugned statements not only offended or shocked, or expressed a “provocative” opinion, but had also been considered an abusive attack on a religious group – for example an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam, as in the applicant’s case – a criminal conviction might be necessary to protect the freedom of religion of others.
II. RELEVANT DOMESTIC LAW
24. Article 188 of the Criminal Code is part of section 8 of the Criminal Code, which, inter alia, lists criminally punishable offences against religious peace (Strafbare Handlungen gegen den religiösen Frieden). It reads as follows:
Article 188 - Disparagement of religious doctrines
“Whoever, in circumstances where his or her behaviour is likely to arouse justified indignation, publicly disparages or insults a person who, or an object which, is an object of veneration of a church or religious community established within the country, or a dogma, a lawful custom or a lawful institution of such a church or religious community, shall be liable to up to six months’ imprisonment or a day-fine for a period of up to 360 days.”
25. Article 283 of the Criminal Code, as in force at the relevant time, read as follows:
Article 283 – Incitement to hatred
“1. Whoever, in a manner capable of endangering public order ... publicly incites to commit a hostile act against a church or religious community established within the country or against a group defined by its belonging to such a church or religious community, a race, a nation, a tribe or a State, shall be liable to up to two years’ imprisonment.
2. Similarly, whoever publicly incites against a group defined in paragraph 1 or tries to insult or disparage it in a manner violating human dignity shall equally be held liable.”
III. INTERNATIONAL MATERIAL
26. Article 20 § 2 of the 1966 United Nations International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides:
“Any advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence shall be prohibited by law.”
27. The Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly stated in its Recommendation 1805 (2007) on “Blasphemy, religious insults and hate speech against persons on grounds of their religion”:
“4. With regard to blasphemy, religious insults and hate speech against persons on the grounds of their religion, the state is responsible for determining what should count as criminal offences within the limits imposed by the case law of the European Court of Human Rights. In this connection, the Assembly considers that blasphemy, as an insult to a religion, should not be deemed a criminal offence. A distinction should be made between matters relating to moral conscience and those relating to what is lawful, matters which belong to the public domain, and those which belong to the private sphere. Even though today prosecutions in this respect are rare in member states, they are legion in other countries of the world.
14. The Assembly notes that member states have the obligation under Article 9 of the Convention to protect freedom of religion including the freedom to manifest one’s religion. This requires that member states protect such manifestations against disturbances by others. However, these rights may sometimes be subject to certain justified limitations. The challenge facing the authorities is how to strike a fair balance between the interests of individuals as members of a religious community in ensuring respect for their right to manifest their religion or their right to education, and the general public interest or the rights and interests of others.
15. The Assembly considers that, as far as it is necessary in a democratic society in accordance with Article 10, paragraph 2, of the Convention, national law should only penalise expressions about religious matters which intentionally and severely disturb public order and call for public violence.
[Kan vi snälla skicka det här till de stolta franska ”försvararna av yttrandefriheten”]
Österrike - Den Europeiska domstolen för de mänskliga rättigheterna (ECHR) fällde på torsdagen domen om att förolämpning av Islams profet Mohammed kommer att vara straffbart och ska inte räknas som ”yttrandefrihet”.
Domstolen var tvungen att fälla domen efter att en österrikisk kvinna (fru S) förolämpade profeten 2009 i två olika seminarier.
Fler detaljer ovan.
[Können wir dies bitte an die stolzen französischen „Verteidiger der Redefreiheit“ schicken?]
Österreich - Der Europäische Gerichtshof für Menschenrechte (ECHR) hat am Donnerstag (2018) das Urteil gefällt, dass die Beleidigung des islamischen Propheten Mohammed strafbar ist und nicht als „Meinungsfreiheit“ eingestuft wird.
Das Gericht musste das Urteil fällen, nachdem eine österreichische Frau (Frau S.) den Propheten 2009 in zwei verschiedenen Seminaren beleidigt hatte.
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