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Attempted murder accused denies charges, far-right links

The defendant was giving evidence on the second day of trial into the alleged attempted murder of a Finns Party aide.

Syytetty istuu asianajajansa kanssa oikeussalissa.
The defendant (right) accused of attempting to murder Pekka Kataja gave evidence to the court on Wednesday. The photo was taken on the first day of trial on Tuesday. Image: Simo Pitkänen / Yle

A man accused of attempting to murder Finns Party aide Pekka Kataja has denied his involvement during the second day of trial at Jyväskylä District Court on Wednesday.

The defendant also denied links to far-right movements and said that his role as a supporter of Jyväskylä city councillor Teemu Torsson has been exaggerated.

Police previously suspected Torssonen of involvement in the attack, but charges against him were dropped earlier this month.

Torssonen was elected to the city council on the Finns Party ticket in 2017, but he was prevented from running as a party candidate in the 2019 parliamentary election.

Accused downplays Torssonen support

Kataja told the court during his own evidence on Wednesday that the accused in the case first came to the attention of party officials in 2018, when press releases began to be sent on behalf of an organisation supporting Torssonen.

Supporters of the councillor also sent messages to the Finns Party district board, some of the content of which, Kataja said, was aggressive.

However, the defendant downplayed his role in this association to the court. He said all his communication through the association was constructive and not in any way threatening. He told the court that his main job was to "produce and edit content", and he said that he made "less than five calls" during his time in the role.

He also said that his name had not been on any of the press releases. However, this was found not to be the case, as his name was on at least one release relating to Torssonen's bid to run in the parliamentary elections.

The defendant’s phone number was also found on other releases, although the court heard his name and number were removed from a number of others.

Defendant denies far-right links

The defendant also denied any links to far-right movements during Wednesday’s hearing, although he admitted to being a "nationalist".

Yle previously reported in December that the man had posted videos to a website called Red Ice, which the defendant told the court is not far-right.

However, the site has been has been described as both white supremacist and white nationalist, provides links to alt-right and neo-Nazis groups, and contains a wealth of far-right content as well as a variety of conspiracy theories.

The defendant described his role as the "Finnish correspondent" of the site, producing and posting videos on subjects such as Finnish history and nature. The videos also dealt critically with immigration and politics.

Disputed prosecutor's interpretations

The defendant repeatedly disputed the interpretations of the evidence presented by the prosecutor during the course of Wednesday’s proceedings.

For example, he admitted his fingerprints were on the false mail package that is considered to be key evidence in the case, but he dismissed the prosecutor's interpretation.

Prosecutors say that the two men who allegedly arrived at Kataja's front door in Jämsä last summer said they had a package for him from the Finns Party office. This was used to lower Kataja’s guard, and indicates a level of planning in the attack.

However, according to the defendant, the package ended up in the hands of the perpetrators, possibly through an online store such as Tori.fi, as he said he was a very active online seller.

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