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Last Updated: Wednesday, 9 November 2005, 17:44 GMT
Swedish court hears 'hate' case
Ake Green speaks to reporters outside the court
A Swedish clergyman accused of inciting hatred against homosexuals has defended his comments in Sweden's Supreme Court.

In a sermon two years ago, Pentecostal pastor Ake Green told his congregation that homosexuality was a "deep cancer tumour" on society.

Speaking in court, Mr Green said the comment referred to a homosexual lifestyle, rather than individuals.

A conviction against him earlier this year was overturned, but Sweden's chief prosecutor appealed against this.

If found guilty by the Supreme Court, Mr Green could serve up to two years in jail. Mr Green was the first priest convicted under Sweden's new hate crimes law, which was amended two years ago to include homosexuals.

His conviction in 2004 was overturned when a court ruled that his comments were protected by free speech laws.

'Ridiculous'

Audio from the hearing was broadcast live on Swedish television.

In it, Mr Green said that his reading of the Bible and "other sources like the National Encyclopaedia" confirmed his view that "a promiscuous lifestyle heightens the risk of Aids".

Speaking to reporters before proceedings began, Mr Green said he did not regret what he had said.

I still think we should be able to voice our convictions without ending up in jail
Ake Green

"I wanted to spark a debate and I've done that. My message is that men should live by the laws of creation, which means the normal family set-up with a woman, a man and children," he said.

"I think homosexuality and that lifestyle is abnormal and I want to be free to say that."

He said that if convicted, he would rather be jailed than do community service.

"I still think we should be able to voice our convictions without ending up in jail and if that happens I will be showing how ridiculous things have got," he said.

In the sermon, Mr Green told a congregation on the small south-eastern island of Oland that homosexuals were "a deep cancer tumour on all of society" and that gays were more likely than other people to rape children and animals.





SEE ALSO:
Sweden legalises gay adoption
06 Jun 02 |  Europe
Country profile: Sweden
27 Feb 05 |  Country profiles


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