In Denmark, a member of parliament was convicted of violating Section 266.b of the Danish penal code for saying that honor killings and sexual abuse take place within Muslim families in Denmark. Truth was not a defense, nor was he allowed to present any defense, for all the law requires is that someone be offended:
On December 3, 2010 the municipal court in Randers, Denmark found the Danish Member of Parliament Jesper Langballe (Danish People’s Party) guilty of hate speech under Article 266b of the Danish penal code. In accordance with Danish legal precedent he was denied the opportunity to prove his allegation that honour killings and sexual abuse take place in Muslim families. Under Danish jurisprudence it is immaterial whether a statement is true or untrue. All that is needed for a conviction is that somebody feels offended. “With this article in the penal code,” commented Mr. Langballe, “I must be assumed convicted in advance. I have no intention of participateing in this circus. Therefore I confess.”
Mr. Langballe was sentenced to a fine of DKK 5,000 (approximately $1000) or ten days in jail. Here is a translation of Jesper Langballe’s full confession in court.
Americans zealously guard the right to free speech as an essential part of democratic government and a protection against tyranny. And it is precisely speech that offends that needs protection, for placid agreement and pleasant nothings are no threat to any would-be tyrant or dunderheaded politician.
But, in Denmark, fear of offending Muslims is enough to get one punished into silence.
As they might say in Denmark: “Ytringsfrihed? Hvad er det?“
(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)