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Police: Ex-Greens officer to keep working MPs' ethnic agitation cases

Inspector Pekka Hätönen's ties to the Green Party will not end his involvement with three high-profile cases.

The criminal investigation into the alleged ethnic agitation by three MPs continues unhindered. Image: Kimmo Brandt / Compic / Eduskunta

Inspector Pekka Hätönen will be allowed to continue as head investigator into the suspicions of ethnic agitation against three members of Finnish parliament, police chief Lasse Aapio announced Wednesday. Hätönen faced criticism from other police, politicians and citizens alike due to his prior personal affiliation with the Green Party.

Hätönen, who heads the hate crime division in Helsinki, ran as a Greens candidate in the city of Espoo in the 2017 municipal elections. Chief Aapio said that Hätönen was not found to have any existing ties to the Green Party, and may therefore continue in his work.

The MPs Hätönen recently began investigating are all suspected of the crime of ethnic agitation because of their past comments. They are all from different parties; Päivi Räsänen chairs the Christian Democratic Party, Hussein al-Taee is with the Social Democratic Party while Juha Mäenpää represents the Finns Party.

Ethnic agitation, or encitement of ethnic hatred, is a crime in Finland. The law defines it as making available to the public an expression of opinion or another message where a certain group is threatened, defamed or insulted on the basis of its race, skin colour, birth status, national or ethnic origin, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability.