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Junes Lokka's third ethnic agitation trial begins in Oulu

Prosecutors have called for the former local politician to receive a suspended sentence following two previous convictions for the same offence.

Junes Lokka
Lokka, pictured in 2019, lost his Oulu council seat in June's municipal elections. Image: Timo Heikkala / Lehtikuva

Former Oulu councillor Junes Lokka faced charges of ethnic agitation for a third time at a trial that began at Oulu District Court on Thursday.

Lokka, who has one finalised conviction for inciting hatred against an ethnic group and one conviction currently pending an appeal at the Supreme Court, could face a suspended prison term if found guilty.

The prosecution claims that Lokka made public a message threatening asylum seekers and immigrants at a meeting of Oulu City Council in the winter of 2020.

The meeting was broadcast live on the council's YouTube channel. Lokka's speech was subsequently taken down from YouTube in February last year.

Prosecutors claim that as the former local politician has already been convicted of ethnic agitation twice before, a fine would not be a sufficient punishment. Lokka was previously ordered to pay 70 day-fines following his second conviction last year.

Lokka, who lost his Oulu council seat in the summer's municipal elections, also faces charges relating to four counts of defamation and invasion of privacy.

He did not submit a written preliminary response to the district court, indicating his position on the charge. Oulu District Court is due to deliver its verdict on 7 October.

Court battles

The former Oulu politician has also found himself on the other side of court battles in recent years. In 2019 Oulu District Court convicted investigative journalist Johanna Vehkoo of defamation after she called Lokka a "racist" and "Nazi clown" in a post on Facebook.

Vehkoo was also ordered to pay Lokka 200 euros for the suffering he experienced. She was also told to pay the complainant’s legal fees, amounting to a total of 6,000 euros.

In July Vehkoo was granted leave to appeal her conviction by the Supreme Court.

Oulu District Court is also due to hear the case of Iltalehti journalist Tommi Parkkonen, who Lokka accused of defamation over a tweet the journalist posted in April 2019.

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