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Man fined over racist abuse of Helsinki councillor

The incident occurred in November 2019 when the SDP councillor was driving three male passengers in his taxi.

Abdirahim Hussein ler mot kameran på Järnvägstorget i Helsingfors.
Helsinki city councillor Abdirahim Hussein. Image: Yle/Eva-Maria Koskinen

Helsinki District Court has convicted a man of racially abusing City Councillor Abdirahim "Husu" Hussein (SDP) in 2019, in a case that garnered widespread social attention attention at the time.

The incident occurred in November 2019 when three male passengers were travelling in a taxi driven by Hussein. During the journey, one of the men directed racial slurs at Hussein about his skin colour and country of birth, which included allegedly making a claim that all immigrants were rapists.

The man denied the allegations of using racist language and argued that Hussein should be able to tolerate criticism due to his status as a politician. The district court, however, held that Hussein's political status was irrelevant, and that holding public office does not justify racist slurs.

The court sentenced the man to 40 income-linked "day fines", which means he will pay a total fine of 1,440 euros.

The incident led to Hussein being suspended from the Social Democratic Party until June 2020, after he admitted his initial claim that he removed the abusive passenger from the vehicle was in fact fabricated. Hussein’s taxi operator, Taksi Helsinki, investigated the incident and found that his story did not match up with GPS data from the taxi.

Hussein later admitted that part of the story was not true and he apologised.

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