Case Pekka Kataja of the PS: I’m surprised that you are surprised

by , under Enrique Tessieri


It is revealing to read comments from the Islamophobic Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party about Friday’s bombshell news: the police detained a former PS politician and a far-right Nazi-spirited activist on suspected attempted murder charges against Pakka Kataja.

Starting from PS chairperson Jussi Halla-aho, who was convicted in 2012 for ethnic agitation and breaching the sanctity of religion, was quoted as saying in tabloid Ilta-Sanomat: “It’s difficult even to believe one’s own eyes when reading this news [about the arrest of the suspects].”

Read the full story (in Finnish) here.

And the amazement continues. PS Central Finland region head Jyrki Niittymaa also expresses dismay.

“It is surprising if these [suspects] are guilty [for brutally attacking Kataja], he said.

Citing tabloid Iltalehti, PS-run Suomen Uutiset publishes the name of one of the suspects, Teemu Torssonen, who was sacked by the party in 2019.

Considering that the arrests made Halla-aho “not believe his eyes” and a PS regional head expresses “surprise,” so little analysis was given by the party that spreads racism, hatred, and violence against minorities.

Moreover, only one (Sanna Antikainen) of the 38 PS MPs condemned on Facebook what happened to Kataja and that it was a good matter that the perpetrators are in police custody. Even the PS’ two MEPs, Laura Huhtasaari and Teuvo Hakkarainen, were silent.

The silence of the party is not surprising. I am surprised that you are surprised. Since there was no “person of Arabic origin” or green-left activists, the whole story is complicated and difficult to digest.

A number of PS MPs are members of the Nazi-leaning Suomen Sisu association and have a lot of close ties with far-right groups. In the picture below, PS MP Mauri Peltokangas is participating in a far-right event in Turku organized by Kansallismielisten liittouma.

One of the suspects in Kataja’s attempted murder case is Tero Ala-Tuuhonen, Kansallismielisten liitouma chairperson.

PS MP Mauri Peltokangas taking part in a far-right event in Turku while the PS leadership turns a blind eye. Source: Kansallismielisten liitouma
Surprise! Surprise! See what we have here. On the left is PS MP Petri Huru with Ala-Tuuhonen last week at a Fixit rally in front of the Parliament. The person on the right holding the Finnish flag is none other than Ala-Tuuhonen, one of the suspects detained by the police for attempted murder. Source: Twitter
Similing faces during b etter times. On the left Teemu Torssonen and Jussi Halla-aho, PS chairperson. Source: Twitter

In the case of the bond between the PS and far-right groups, it is not a question of politics makes bedfellows but that both groups are close lovers.

Taking into account the threat that far-right and Islamophobic groups pose in our society, what will be the reaction of the media and politicians?

Will the media just report what happened without taking an editorial stand? Will politicians react to it with their usual regurgitated silence?