A Swedish politician facing charges for producing a poster depicting the Muslim prophet Muhammad naked together with his nine-year-old wife was found not guilty by a jury in Malmö on Wednesday.
Carl P Herslow, leader of the Skåne Party (Skånepartiet), a small right-wing populist regional party, is charged with agitation against an ethnic group (hets mot folkgrupp). The poster included the text: “He is 53 and she is nine. Is this the kind of wedding we want to see in Skåne?.”
Herslow admits producing the poster but contested the charges. He said the aim of the poster was to stimulate a debate about Islam, which he argued was incompatible with democracy and equality. “The intention was to provoke a strong reaction among both Muslims and non-Muslims,” he said.
The prosecution argued that Herslow should to be given a suspended prison sentence and for the posters to be confiscated. But after deliberating less than an hour the jury, which are only used in Sweden in freedom of speech cases, told the court that Herslow was not guilty of agitation against an ethnic group. As a result, the court cannot convict the politician when it delivers its formal verdict on March 16th.