Finland / District Court of Northern Karelia / R 13/315




Finland / District Court of Northern Karelia / R 13/315

View full Case



Decision/ruling/judgment date

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Crime type(s) concerned/related

Incitement to violence or hatred

Related hate bias motivation

Nationality Ethnic origin

Groups affected

Black people or of African origin

Court/Body type

National Court


The District Court of Northern Karelia (Pohjois-Karjalan Käräjäoikeus/Norra Karelens Tingsrätt)

Key facts of the case

A man was found guilty of incitement to hatred after he published a message on his Facebook page containing insults and slander against Somali nationals, including statements that they live on social welfare benefits and that "they rape women". The prosecution stated that it is not acceptable to spread such views in public. The defendant claimed that the message was a commentary on a news article, and as such, it should not be interpreted out of context.

Main reasoning/argumentation

The court found that the defendant was guilty of spreading information, in which a certain group (Somali nationals) was threatened, defamed or insulted on the basis of their national or ethnic origin, available to the public. Freedom of expression may be subject to limitation in such a case. Thus the defendant was found guilty for the crime of incitement to hatred prohibited by the Criminal Code.

Is the case related to the application of the Framework Decision on Racism and Xenophobia, the Racial Equality Directive?

Key issues (concepts, interpretations) clarified by the case

Freedom of expression cannot prevail when its exercise violates other values to which the law provides adequate protection. These values arise from the need to defend equality established in the constitutional order.

Results (sanctions, outcome) and key consequences or implications of the case

The defendant was ordered to pay 30 day fines (1 980 euros).

Key quotation in original language and translated into English with reference details

DISCLAIMERThe information presented here is collected under contract by the FRA's research network FRANET. The information and views contained do not necessarily reflect the views or the official position of the FRA.