‘True Finns’ Politician Faces Defamation Charges
published today 10:57 AM, updated today 06:39 PM
Jussi Halla-aho arrived at Helsinki District Court on Tuesday morning.
Image: YLE / Päivi Happonen
Controversial Helsinki politician Jussi Halla-aho went on trial on Tuesday, accused of incitement of hatred against an ethnic group and defamation of religion.
In March, Deputy Prosecutor General Jorma Kalske charged the city councilman over allegedly racist, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim comments made on his blog in June 2008. Halla-aho, who was elected to the Helsinki City Council as an independent candidate on the ticket of the right-wing populist True Finns party, denies breaking any laws.
On Tuesday morning, Halla-aho appeared without a lawyer at Helsinki District Court, where he pled innocent to the charges.
Kalske is seeking a suspended prison sentence or fines.
Halla-aho had planned to run for European Parliament, but party chair Timo Soini successfully ran in his place after the charges were laid.
Halla-aho holds a doctoral degree in linguistics from the University of Helsinki.