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New Finns Party MEP's assault, sexual harassment conviction to stand

Finns Party MP Teuvo Hakkarainen was elected to the European Parliament two weeks ago.

Teuvo Hakkarainen
The December 2017 assault occurred at a cafe at parliament when MP Teuvo Hakkarainen (pictured) had stepped out of a Christmas celebration held in the building. Witnesses said the politician had grabbed NCP MP Veera Ruoho by the neck and attempted to kiss her. Image: Isto Janhunen / Yle

A past conviction for assault and sexual harassment against freshly-minted Finns Party MEP Teuvo Hakkarainen has become enforceable, the Helsinki Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday.

This means that Hakkarainen will have to pay the 80-day fine for the offences, which were committed in December 2017.

A lower court had convicted the then-Finns Party MP and sentenced him to a 45-day fine for assault and sexual harassment of National Coalition Party MP Veera Ruoho.

However, the appeal court stiffened the sentence to an 80-day fine, which based on Hakkarainen’s income at the time, amounted to 5,440 euros. The lower court had also ordered the former sawmill owner to pay Ruoho an additional 1,400 euros in damages.

During the district court trial, prosecutor Eija Velitski had called on the court to hand down a two-month suspended sentence. However she said last spring that she would not appeal the appellate court’s ruling.

Ruoho is a former Finns Party MP who quit the nationalist party when immigration hardliner Jussi Halla-aho became chair in June 2017.

Hakkarainen has a record of seven convictions since 1985, including chopping down trees illegally while drunk, stealing silverware and wine from a church, drunk driving, speeding, and ethnic agitation for anti-Muslim comments on Facebook in 2016.

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