Emmanouil Bougiakiotis: E.S. v Austria: Blasphemy Laws and the Double Standards of the European Court of Human Rights

UK Constitutional Law Association

This case concerns the criminal conviction of an Austrian national because of a number of comments she made about Muhammad during some seminars she held under the title “Basic Information on Islam”. In one of those seminars she referred to Muhammad’s marriage with Aisha, one of his wives, implying that the fact that the marriage was conducted when Aisha was six years old and consummated when she was nine, whilst Muhammad was fifty-six and fifty-nine years old respectively, could be considered as paedophilia. An undercover journalist attended the seminar and notified the national authorities, which brought criminal charges against the applicant. The latter was subsequently convicted for “disparaging religious doctrines”.

The Court’s ruling

There are three main themes that Austrian courts used in their reasoning and which the ECtHR endorsed: first, regarding the accuracy of the allegation; second, regarding whether E.S.’s intention was to promote debate on the matter; and…

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About Jim Rose

Utopia - you are standing in it promotes a classical liberal view of the world and champion the mass flourishing of humanity through capitalism and the rule of law. The origin of the blog is explained in the first blog post at https://utopiayouarestandinginit.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/why-call-my-blog-utopia-you-are-standing-in-it/

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