The Court of Appeal in Rovaniemi has ruled to uphold a verdict against Finns Party Member of Parliament Sebastian Tynkkynen.
The Oulu MP was convicted in District Court in October 2019 for a Facebook post where he wrote about Islam and terrorism.
Prosecutors said the MP equated being a Muslim to being a terrorist, and that Tynkkynen’s 2016 posts, when he was the leader of the Finns Party Youth group, amounted to “deliberate, racist and disparaging hate speech” which was directed at all Muslims and was “likely to provoke contempt and even religious intolerance towards Muslims.”
Tynkkynen denied the charges, and worked on social media to frame the conviction as a free speech issue while he appealed the sentence.
During the appeal, Tynkkynen demanded that the 2019 charges be dismissed or the €4,000 fine reduced.
“I’m going to appeal the [Appeal Court] ruling to the Supreme Court. Although it can be concluded from the history of solution, that when the national prosecutor presses charges, the judge is mostly a rubber stamp, you still have to try to fight for the right to freedom of speech in politics, including when you talk about Islam” says Tynkkynen, a former reality TV show contestant on Big Brother, in a statement.
In addition to this judgment, upheald by the Appeal Court, Tynkkynen was previously convicted in 2017 of religious and ethnic incitement.
The MP is facing a third court case for alleged racism in his election campaign. Tynkkynen says he’s been to the Oulu police station as part of that preliminary investigation but so far no date has been set for the trial.
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