Naked Mohammed poster politician cleared

A Swedish politician who produced a poster of the Muslim prophet Mohammed standing naked next to his nine year-old wife has been found not guilty of aggravating an ethnic group. Carl P Herslow, who is the leader of small right-wing regional party Skane, was cleared last Wednesday by a jury — which are only used in Sweden in freedom-of-speech cases.

The poster, which Herslow admits producing, contains the text: ‘He is 53 and she is nine. Is this the kind of wedding we want to see in Skane?’. The politician, however, claims the purpose of the controversial notice was simply to stimulate debate about whether Islam is compatible with equality and democracy. “The intention was to provoke a strong reaction among both Muslims and non-Muslims,” he said.

Prosecutor Bo Birgerson argued on behalf of the country’s top legal official, the Chancellor of Justice, that Herslow’s actions showed disrespect to Muslims and that a guilty verdict would not violate his right to free speech. “A conviction is important to show where the boundaries are for debate in an open and democratic society,” he said.

Birgerson called for Herslow to receive a suspended sentence, but the jury found him not guilty after deliberating for less than an hour. The politician will now avoid conviction when the court delivers its formal verdict later this month.

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