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Finnish taxi driver fined for discrimination

A mother and child were left standing on the kerb when a cabbie refused to serve them due to their ethnic origin.

Takseja jonossa.
The driver admitted to denying service to a mother and child (file photo). Image: Pekka Sipola / AOP

A cab driver in the south-western city of Turku has been fined for discriminating against customers from the Roma minority.

The man admitted that he refused to allow a mother and young child into his taxi. Turku District Court found him guilty of discrimination based on national or ethnic origin.

The woman and four-year-old child are members of the Roma community. They tried to get into the taxi last April, but the cabbie refused to serve them. The court found that there was no valid reason why they should have been denied service, and declared that the driver placed them in an unequal position due to their origin.

The man admitted to the violation and was ordered to pay 40 day fines. Based on his income, that totalled 800 euros. The court also ordered him to pay each of the victims of bias 1,000 euros plus interest for emotional distress.

The sentence was handed down last Thursday, but only announced on Tuesday. The decision is final so the defendant does not have the right to appeal.

Finland’s Roma people, also known as Kale, apparently originally migrated from Britain via Sweden some 500 years ago. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health has estimated that there are some 10,000 Kale in Finland. In recent years Roma from eastern Europe have also moved to Finland, often on a temporary basis.

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