Perussuomalaiset (PS) party MP Jussi Halla-aho was convicted today by the Finnish Supreme Court (KKO) for defaming a religion and inciting ethnic hatred. Halla-aho, who was fined in 2009 for defaming religion, was now criminally charged as well for inciting ethnic hatred.
The sentence dates back to Halla-aho’s blog writings of 2008, when he claimed that Islam is a pedophile religion and Somalis are genetically inclined to rob and live off welfare.
The latest ruling is another blow to the embattled and scandal-ridden PS’ credibility, which has seen its popularity plummet in recent opinion polls.
Migrant Tales applauds the sentence by the KKO to a politician who has made his questionable career on spreading hatred and racism of other groups in Finland. It is certainly an important ruling and warning to others. The sentence reinforces our rejection as a society of racism and populism based on hate speech.
Kimmo Wilska writes on Facebook: “Personally I think that bringing criminal charges against Halla-aho was not a very wise move. Being able to portray himself as a free speech martyr was all he needed to win big in the Parliamentary elections.”
Halla-aho is chairman of the administration committee of parliament responsible, among other matters, for immigration policy.
As Finland learned from the April 2011 election, being complacent and silent on a social ill like racism is definitely the wrong way to go. Allowing such a social ill to roam freely in our society is like letting out a deadly predator.
The party’s chairman, Timo Soini, claimed to the media with a poker face after the April election that there was not one racist among the PS and that earlier that if Halla-aho got criminally charged he’d get sacked from the party.
The ball is now in Soini’s court.
UPDATE: PS chairman Soini said later today on Helsingin Sanomat that the party would take no action against Halla-aho since the fine imposed by the Supreme Court was sufficient punishment.