Austria – The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) passed the verdict on Thursday that insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammed will be punishable offence and will not be counted under ‘freedom of expression’.
The court was compelled to pass the verdict after an Austrian woman Mrs. S insulted the Prophet in 2009 in two different seminars.
Panel of seven-judges said, defaming or demeaning the Prophet goes beyond permissible limits of an objective debate and could cause prejudice in the society and will risk religious peace.
The court said that the Mrs. S’ comments did not abide by freedom of expression, and stated that “the applicant’s statements had been likely to arouse justified indignation in Muslims” and “amounted to a generalization without factual basis.”
Austrian court trialed her in 2011 for disparaging religious doctrines and fined her 480 euros.
Based on Article-10 which permits freedom of expression, Mrs. S. complained that the domestic courts failed to address the substance of the impugned statements in the light of her right to freedom of expression.
However, ECHR today said,
On today’s ruling, the ECHR said “the domestic courts comprehensively assessed the wider context of the applicant’s statements and carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria.”