MP goes on sick leave after inflammatory online comments

Police will now be looking into whether al-Taee broke any laws with his social media posts, and whether an official preliminary investigation is required.

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Black and white file photo of Hussein al-Taee (SDP) / Credit: Candidate's Facebook

Social Democrat MP Hussein al-Taee was admitted to hospital on Tuesday, and has gone on sick leave with immediate effect.

It comes in the wake of a scandal about old online comments he made against Jewish people, Sunni Muslims, homosexuals and Somalis.

SDP parliamentary group leader Antti Lindtman says they won’t look into the circumstances surrounding the comments until al-Taee is out of hospital and back from sick leave.

“When it comes to health information for people, including MPs, they are covered by privacy. There is a choice of how much information is given. Let’s see what can later be said about his health. We look forward to further information, including how long he will be absent, shortly” said Lindtman.

Al-Taee will not take part in any parliamentary business while he is in hospital.

Now, Iltalehti newspaper is reporting that the Prosecutor General’s office has asked police whether there’s enough of a case to open a preliminary investigation into the comments.

What’s the history of these comments? 

Five months ago, STT Finnish news agency began asking al-Taee about online comments he apparently made on a Facebook group run by a pro-Russia activist.

During the following months, al-Taee either stonewalled on giving full answers, or conceded to writing some of the posts, but said he didn’t remember writing other comments.

The politician only admitted he made the comments in a lengthy blog post last week, where he said he felt “shame” about the things he wrote and apologised.

By the end of last week, before al-Taee’s apology, the story had been picked up by international media, with The Jerusalem Post reporting on it extensively.

His former employer the Crisis Management Initiative CMI, removed links to him from their website and said he was now working in parliament.