Final update 5:48am EST:
All reporting by Henrik Ræder Clausen
Judge Leo Levnaic-Iwanski upheld the verdict of the lower court, which convicted Elisabeth on the charge of “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion.”
The judge found that the length of time her trial had taken was excessive, and that her fine should be reduced. A new date will be set in the lower court for the announcement of the fine.
There will be a press conference shortly at the Wiener Akademikerbund.
Live-blogging has concluded.
4:25 am EST: VERDICT UPHELD
A journalist from the magazine News.at joined the seminars, and has laid forth the evidence.
The marriage/consummation with a girl of 6/9 years is a subject that might offend some. That is at the heart of the problem.
The Court cannot convict for more items than the Prosecutor requested.
As for the guilt, ”Having something with children” is an excess of opinion that can not be tolerated. It is a ridiculing that cannot be justified.
As for punishment, it can be diminished. 4 December 2009 – 20 December 2011 is a long time for the process.
First conviction is CONFIRMED!
Update 4:14 am EST: The Judge lectures:
The defence has made the factual details of the case very clear, it’s an interesting case.
What we’re dealing with here is only the verdict from the first court. The Judge is lecturing a bit about the legal mechanism of cases like this.
It’s not the first time that Freedom of Expression is in this court, nor at the European Court of Human Right.
The Court has the obligation to clear up if there are objective mistakes in the first court. This is not the first case of its kind, far from it.
The Judge is lecturing about the legal mechanism of cases like this.
We don’t need to go through all the details of the case in the courtroom, it’s all written down in advance, and the Judge has read it. All the details are stacked up here [two 15-centimeter stacks].
The Defence made comments in order that the audience would understand the case. Otherwise not much of the case needed to be explained verbally.
If one only heard the Defence, it would seem incredible that one cannot legally speak the truth.
Article 10 of the Human Rights Convention, which of course is undisputed. This is valid both for pleasant and unpleasant information, including disturbing, shocking and hurtful information. The exercise of this right implies a duty as well, as duties are the flip side of the right. The exercise of this right implies responsibility and duties. Uttering false, harmful statements can be punishable. Protection of public order and basic values may require restrictions on exercise of free speech.
Supreme Court of Austria has dealt with this in the case of Susanne Winter already. Muhammad married Aisha at the age of 50, and Winter called him “Child molester”. We cannot leave that Supreme Court decision out of consideration.
Update: Live-blogging Begins
3:10am EST Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Dr. Rami are present.
The court makes a summary of what the case is about:
§188 appeal case. Denigration of legally recognized religion, specifically Muhammad.
15 October 2009
The problem is that Muhammad is considered a perfect example for Muslim men, that is against our laws and public order. He had a great consumption of women, including minors, and in general behaved in ways contrary to modern law. That is all documentable from the Bukhari hadith.
Susanne Winter said similar things and was convicted.
A 54-year having sex with a 9 year old, what do we call this, if not pedophilia?
3:18 am EST Dr. Rami represents the Defence.
Demands acquittal. ESW is a harmless women conducting seminars, which was infiltrated by a journalist from News.at. 30 pages are obviously harmless, just a few out of context quotes are made controversial.
He underlines that a “Hate preacher” would be someone standing in public places inciting hatred among thousands or millions, not a teacher in a small seminar.
‘Denigration’ implies that something false and negative is said about religious persons, like Jesus. Something true and negative, like Muhammad having sex with a girl aged 9, cannot constitute ‘denigration’, and must thus not be punishable.
Quotes Wikipedia: “The wife of Muhammad, Aisha, entered the marriage at age 6, which was consummated at the age of 9.”
This is completely public knowledge already, repeating this cannot be punishable under the law.
That Muhammad, as ESW put it, “had something for little kids” is simply another way to put it, yet carefully rewording the facts be cannot punishable either.
Also, it’s important that we don’t suppress discussion of these matters, put people in prison for discussing it.
3:21 am EST The Public Prosecutor takes over for a few comments about in what detail the previous judge had gone into the precise definition of ‘pedophilia’.
The Judge asks ESW to take the floor for any comments pertaining to the written defence statement by Dr. Rami:
She says that she only spoke the truth, and “Telling the truth must never be punishable”.
Dr. Rami adds details from Islamic sources:
Muhammad had at least nine wives, more according to other sources, as well as a variety of concubines and others.
The Judge calls a break, and says that the verdict will come no earlier than 10 o’clock.
About fifteen minutes after this post goes up, the appeals court will convene in Vienna and hand down a verdict in the “hate speech” case against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff.
It has been more than two years since Elisabeth first learned that a left-wing magazine had filed a legal complaint against her because of what she had said about Mohammed in one of her seminars on Islam. Her trial in November of last year, and on February 15 of this year she was convicted of “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion.” She was sentenced to pay a fine of €480, or spend up to two months in jail.
Elisabeth immediately appealed the verdict to Austria’s highest court, and this morning the slow-moving course of Austrian justice — or its lack — will at long last reach a conclusion.
I’m scheduled to be up at 3am EST to join the live-blog. If I’m a sleepyhead and fail to check in by that time, look in at Save Free Speech or Tundra Tabloids for live-blog reports in English.
The timeline of the case against Elisabeth:
|January 2008||ESW began series of three-part seminars on ideology and effect of Islam, particularly in Europe. At first, attendance was about 10 people per session. Later it increased to 35.|
|October 2009||Infiltration of leftist magazine journalist in 2 seminars.|
|November 2009||The story broke in NEWS magazine. ESW was reported to the authorities.|
|February 2010||Interview with Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Terrorism Prevention.|
|April 2010||ESW submitted extensive written answers to questions from Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Terrorism Prevention.|
|October 2010||ESW was informed via NEWS magazine of indictment and impending trial.|
|Nov. 23, 2010||First day of the trial. 2.5 hrs of intensive questioning by the judge|
|Jan. 18, 2011||Court reconvened. No verdict; the trial was adjourned until February 15th.|
|Feb. 15, 2011||Verdict:|
|On the original charge of “incitement to hatred”: Not guilty|
|On the second the new charge of “denigration of religious beliefs of a legally recognized religion”: Guilty|
|Current status||The case is on appeal. The next court date is Dec. 20, 2011, when the verdict on the appeal will be handed down.|
For previous posts on the “hate speech” prosecution of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, see Elisabeth’s Voice: The Archives.