Appeals court upholds politician's conviction for forced sterilisation comments

Helsinki Appeals Court has upheld the conviction of an ex-Finns Party politician for suggesting on social media that immigrants from Africa should be forcibly sterilised.

Olli Sademies Image: Yle

Olli Sademies, a Finns Party politician elected to a reserve list in Helsinki at the 2013 local elections, has had his conviction for incitement against an ethnic group upheld at Helsinki Appeals Court.

Sademies had in 2015 written on Facebook that immigrants from Africa should be forcibly sterilised, among other offensive comments about immigrants. He was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced to 50 day-fines, which are a defined proportion of a defendant's income.

He had claimed that the comments were a normal part of political debate and an effort to draw attention to crime prevention efforts, and appealed the verdict.

The appeals court rejected that argument, and noted that Sademies had posted his comments as a figure in municipal politics so they would have been taken seriously by a significant proportion of those who read them.