Man Sentenced for Spreading Racist Jokes Online in Denmark

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A 28-year-old man from Holstebro has been sentenced to 7 days of conditional imprisonment for disseminating jokes that the court found violated section 266 b of the Danish penal code, also known as the ‘racism paragraph.’

The verdict was delivered today at the Holstebro Court.

The jokes were posted by the man on a Danish and a German website.

The content of the websites consisted of jokes categorized into themes. The jokes in question were categorized under the headings: “Jewish jokes,” “Negro jokes,” and “Racist jokes.” The indictment listed 129 jokes.

The 28-year-old pleaded not guilty but admitted to being the owner of the websites and posting the material on them.

The issue in the case was therefore primarily whether jokes of the nature in question and in this form constituted a violation of the racism paragraph, or whether the fact that they were jokes meant that the matter fell outside the scope of the provision.

The members of the court did not agree on the decision regarding the guilt issue. Two of the court’s members found the 28-year-old guilty of the main charges and emphasized that the jokes were serious and implied that the population groups in question generally lacked value as human beings. They believed that this constituted a violation of the racism paragraph and that the protection of the groups mentioned in the jokes outweighed freedom of speech.

One of the court’s members voted to acquit the 28-year-old and believed that the fact that the jokes were on a website where one had to actively seek them out meant that the groups mentioned were not ridiculed or demeaned to a degree that was so severe as to be punishable under section 266 b, paragraph 1 of the penal code.

As the majority thus found the 28-year-old guilty, he was convicted, and the sentence was set at seven days of imprisonment, which was made conditional with a probation period of one year.

The 28-year-old has appealed the verdict to the appellate court seeking acquittal.

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