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Jyväskylä: "No confidence" in city councillor suspected of attempted murder

Municipal law requires an elected official to be formally charged in court before they can be suspended from their duties.

Keskusrikospoliisin kyltti.
The National Bureau of Investigation has said that other suspects may still be at large. Image: Silja Viitala / Yle

Jyväskylä city officials said on Monday that a councillor suspected of attempted murder no longer enjoys their confidence. However the suspect in the attack on a Finns Party aide earlier this year -- ex-Finns Party member Teemu Torssonen -- cannot be barred from performing his duties before he is formally charged in court.

On Friday council and council group chairs as well as the city board and management met to discuss the matter. On Monday, deputy council chair Tuulia Kuntsi (Cen) told news agency STT that the city would try to engage in discussion with Torssonen.

According to municipal law an elected official can only be suspended from their duties over a crime committed -- if charges against them have been filed in court.

Torssonen was remanded into pre-trial custody on suspicion of attempted murder related to an attack in July on Finns Party aide Pekka Kataja. However charges have not yet been laid.

He is a city councillor as well as a city board member and was reportedly expelled from the Finns Party last year.

"According to the law no one can be abruptly discharged from elected office. It’s not enough to be remanded on suspicion of committing a crime. We will next hear from Torssonen, he can resign from the position himself," Kuntsi said.

The statute requires that each case be evaluated individually to determine whether or not someone should be suspended from an elected position.

Two suspects remanded

On Friday the National Bureau of Investigation said that two men had been remanded into pre-trial custody on suspicion of attempted murder following the attack on Kataja at his home in Jämsä, central Finland.

One of the suspects is a known figure in far-right circles and was said to be the chair of a nationalist coalition.

Long-time Finns Party activist Kataja previously said that two men entered his home and hit him on the head with a hammer or an object similar to a hammer. He suffered a cracked skull, cerebral haemmorhaging and three broken ribs and was taken to hospital in Tampere for treatment. He has since been released.

Kataja had specúlated that his attackers were from far right groups. Meanwhile the NBI said that the suspects were held in Central Finland on 3 September and remanded into custody on 6 September in the Southwest Finland District Court, which was in session at the time.

Lead investigator Jussi Luoto told STT that police have been tight-lipped about the case because other suspects may still be at large.

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