Hiltunen had written on Facebook that refugees were welfare scroungers and rapists. Police started an investigation into the comments, and assistant state prosecutor Jorma Kalske decided to bring charges.
The decision to press charges was made in Helsinki, rather than by local prosecutors, as the case involved freedom of speech in mass communications.
Hiltunen’s comments were condemned by Osmo Kokko, a Finns party MP from the neighbouring town of Joensuu, who said they did not represent the party’s views. The nationalistic party has faced a string of controversies over statements made by members on immigration and immigrants.