The four handed out the leaflets together with three others in Söderhamn, 250km north of Stockholm. The leaflets claimed, among other things, that “HIV and AIDS appeared early in homosexuals, and their promiscuous lifestyles have been one of the main reasons for this modern plague gaining a foothold.”
All seven young men were convicted of agitation against minority groups in the district court. Four of them took the case to the Court of Appeal, where they were found not guilty.
The appeal court referred to the case of pastor Åke Green, who was cleared of agitation against minority groups after an anti-gay sermon. Judges in that case found that although he had broken Swedish law, the right to free speech in the European Convention of Human Rights took precedence.
Prosecutors appealed the Söderhamn case to the Supreme Court, which reimposed the four men’s convictions. However, the they were given lower sentences than in the district court.
A 25-year old from Sundsvall who at the original trial was given two months in jail was sentenced to a suspended sentence and fined 100 days’ salary. A 25-year old from Gotenburg was given the same sentence in the district court, and also received a suspended sentence and a fine from the Supreme Court.
A 19-year old from Sundsvall had the original punishment of one year’s probation reinstated, and a 21-year old, also from Sundsvall, was given a suspended sentence and a fine, as in the district court.