Norway: Man Sentenced for Facebook Posts 'Harassing' a Transwoman
A man in Norway has been convicted and sentenced after insulting a trans-identified male on Facebook.
The defendant, a 52-year-old man known only as MF, was charged with making insulting remarks to a male who identified as a woman. The exchange between the two took place over Facebook in March after they had both joined a discussion group about the City Council in Oslo.
The discussion grew heated, and culminated in MF sending the transgender male a series of comments regarding his gender identity. The original, Norwegian-language comments were published in the country's NRK media outlet.
The trans-identified male then reported MF to the police who investigated and charged him under Section 185 of the Norwegian Penal Code. The case came as the first under the country's tightened hate speech law, amendments to which were approved in November of 2020 and officially implemented in December of 2020.
The amendments to Section 185 broadened the scope of "hate speech" to include discriminatory or hateful statements directed towards transgender people.
During his trial, MF attempted to argue that his statements were made within the confines of free speech, but the court ultimately rejected his claim and gave him suspended prison sentence of 21 days. MF must also pay a fine of 15,000 kroner (approx. $1,700), and additional 3,000 kroner (approx. $340) in legal costs to the court.
According to NRK, MF's defense lawyer refused to say whether he is currently considering an appeal.
Corrections (Nov 17, 2022):
- This article's headline originally claimed "MF" was sentenced to jail, which is not accurate. He received a suspended prison sentence.
- This article's headline originally claimed "MF" was sentenced for "misgendering," which is not true.
- This article originally claimed that "A man in Norway has been convicted and sentenced after insulting a trans-identified male over Facebook messenger." The insulting comments were made under a post in a facebook group, not through facebook messenger.
- This article originally claimed that MF's defense lawyer is considering an appeal, which is not true.
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