Hate speech on Facebook 2
Supreme Court judgment 29 January 2020, HR-2020-185-A, (case no. 19-111561STR-HRET), criminal case, appeal against judgment.
A (Counsel Håkon Mathias Sterling Danielsen) v. The Public Prosecution Authority (Counsel Kristine Herrebrøden)
Justices: Møse, Falkanger, Kallerud, Falch, Østensen Berglund
A man had posted several comments regarding dark-skinned people, Muslims and Islam in a closed Facebook group with some 15 000 members. There was agreement in the Court of Appeal that "fill containers up with these wogs and seal them and drop them into the deepest ocean" was covered by section 185 of the Penal Code on hate speech. The comment "awful filth, this Satan's Islamic cult" was considered protected by the freedom of expression, although it was offensive. The Supreme Court found that the comments "it would be better if we removed these disgusting rats from the face of the earth ourselves!!" and "yes they will only disappear the day these steppe baboons go back to where they belong" were covered by section 185 of the Penal Code. Based on the context in which they were made, the Supreme Court found it clear that the first comment related to Muslims and not to Islam. It was considered to be a qualifiedly discriminatory statement and a serious degradation of a group's dignity, and it derided and promoted scorn against Muslims in Norway. The second comment expressed that dark-skinned people are not equal inhabitants. It derided and promoted scorn against a group of people due to their skin-colour. The Court of Appeal had imposed a fine of NOK 12 000. The sentence was not appealed. The Supreme Court found that the sentence would clearly have been stricter if it had been subject to review.