Politician acquitted of hate speech charges

A local politician from the Malmö suburb of Burlöv has been acquitted of charges of agitation against an ethnic group.

Dahn Pettersson of the local Allianspartiet had previously been convicted by the Malmö District Court and fined the equivalent of 100 days’ pay after he submitted a legislative proposal to the Burlöv town council connecting heroin smuggling with Kosovo Albanians residing permanently in Sweden.

But the Court of Appeals reversed the lower court’s decision and ruled instead that the proposal didn’t prove Pettersson intended to disrespect Kosovo Albanians as a group.

Pettersson has confessed that his motion contained clear mistakes, such as the claim that 95 percent of all heroin found in Sweden comes through Kosovo.

The legislative motion dealt primarily with homelessness in Burlöv and the appeals court ruled the motion was written so poorly that its aim was rendered unintelligible.

Instead, the court attempted to interpret what Pettersson meant.

According to the Court of Appeals, the text of the proposal could be read as saying that Kosovo Albanians are especially inclined to be involved with the heroin trade and therefore cause homelessness and other societal problems.

Ultimately, the court choose to release Pettersson, arguing that freedom of expression and the right to criticize current policy is important, especially when it comes to political debate.