A 91-year-old Swedish man has been convicted of hate speech in the municipality of Bromölla after making disparaging comments about Islam and Muslims online.
The man, who may be one of the oldest Swedes on record to be convicted of hate speech, posted a number of comments in a Facebook group containing around 12,000 people in which he disparaged Muslims, Lokaltidningen reports.
Among the posts written included one in which the elderly man said, referring to Muslims, “You cannot, with the best will in the world, call these beings people. They seem to be inbred as they carry on.”
The Kristianstad district court convicted the man of hatred against an identifiable ethnic group, noting that the post reached a potential audience of 12,000 and had been up for nearly a year.
“The messages have content that is clearly abusive to Muslims and it, therefore, expresses such inaccuracy as is required to be held liable for the crimes against ethnic groups,” the court said.
While the normal penalty for the crime could include two months in prison, the 91-year-old was given a conditional sentence along with a 6,500 Swedish kronor (£535/$700) fine.
Swedish Court Convicts Pensioner for Saying Somalis Are ‘Lazy’ https://t.co/6bQ3JQ2blv
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The case is just the latest to involve a Swedish pensioner convicted for hate speech made online. In 2017, a man in his 70s was convicted in Gothenburg for a similar post in which he referred to Muslims as “monkeys” on Facebook.
Earlier this year another pensioner, this time in Uddevalla, was convicted and fined 7,200 Swedish Kronor (£593/$775) for a Facebook post in which the 70-year-old claimed that Somali migrants were lazy and refused to work.
In the last several years, Sweden has seen a surge in reported hate speech crimes, with the social justice group Näthatsgranskaren taking credit last year for the increase, saying that they had made at least 800 reports to police in a single year.
The group also admitted that the average demographic of those they had reported tended to be older women over the age of 65.
Sweden is also expected to receive another 7.5 million Swedish Kronor (£618,375/$807,150) from the European Union this year to go towards hate crime projects.