ATHENS — An appeals court yesterday overturned the conviction of Austrian cartoonist Gerhard Haderer for blasphemy over a comic book portraying Jesus as a marijuana-smoking hippie. Haderer, 54, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence in January for “maliciously insulting the Orthodox Church,” and his book The Life of Jesus was banned in Greece – causing protests from European human rights groups and other cartoonists.
The book, published in several European countries, portrays Jesus as a hippie surfer who enjoys smoking marijuana with friends and celebrities, including Jimi Hendrix.
The three-member court was unanimous in its ruling. Haderer was not present at the hearing Wednesday. He was informed of the ruling from his lawyer by phone.
The Greek edition of Haderer’s book was first published in 2003.