Iceland’s parliament has abolished its blasphemy laws after a successful campaign by the Pirate Party.
The minority party put forward the bill and, despite opposition from some of the nation’s churches and religious leaders, the motion passed on Thursday.
The blasphemy law had been in place since 1940, and anyone found guilty could have been handed a fine or up to three months in prison.
However, the Pirate Party – which campaigns for internet and data freedom – brought forward the measure to repeal the law in the wake of the deadly attack on French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January.
The bill said it was “essential in a free society that the public can express themselves without fear of punishment”.
As three members of the Pirate Party stood before parliament on Thursday, each said, “Je Suis Charlie”, an expression used globally to express solidarity with the Charlie Hebdo victims.
First Pirate Party law was passed in the parliament today :) Blasphemy Law Abolished in Iceland! | Siðmennt http://t.co/zfDv2d1xUC
— BirgittⒶ Jónsdóttir (@birgittaj) July 2, 2015
— Arnaldur Sigurðarson (@Arnaldtor) July 2, 2015
Blashphemy is now finally legal in Iceland! Woohoo! Congratulations to @PiratePartyIS on this major victory!
— Smári McCarthy (@smarimc) July 2, 2015
In a statement released after the bill was made law, the party said:
The Icelandic Parliament has issued the important message that freedom will not bow to bloody attacks.
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