Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Guilty Until Proven Innocent In Norway


In followup to the post below about the Italian courts prosecuting Orianna Fallaci for defamation of Islam, read what the Norwegian courts are now doing. From Fjordman:


Stortinget, the Norwegian parliament, in April 2005 passed a new Discrimination Act. The act says in pretty clear words that in cases of suspected direct or indirect discrimination due to religion or ethnicity, Norwegians are guilty until proven otherwise.

To me, it is surprising that they are allowed to pass such legislation at all. Isn't it a fundamental part of all international law that a person should be innocent until proven otherwise? Aren't our politicians thus depriving Norwegians of even the most basic human rights? However, I have heard claims that it is technically legal to do this. The act was passed in April with the approval of all parties in parliament, more than 80 % of MPs, with the sole exception of the right-wing Progress Party.

Immigration spokesman for the Progress Party, Per Sandberg, is deeply disappointed and fears the consequences of the new legislation. "This law will jeopardize the rights of ordinary, law-abiding Norwegian citizens. The principle of reverse burden of proof means that Norwegians are guilty of discrimination unless they can prove otherwise. It will lead to many convictions of innocent people. Reverse burden of proof is also combined with liability to pay compensation, which means that innocent persons risk having to pay huge sums for things they didn't do.

"It is unclear why this act is needed at all, given that a survey of immigrants only a few months ago indicates that a vast majority don't feel they've been discriminated against in Norway. Racism appears to be less widespread than earlier believed. And why on earth are we supposed to show this ridiculous reverence and respect for their utterly failed Islamic cultures in the first place? Why should people who come from some of the most advanced countries on the planet have to crawl for those who come from the most backward ones?


Read the rest.