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Parliament investigates Sipilä video leak

Video footage of the incident which occurred close to the Parliament building in early January has appeared in the media.

MTV uutisten uutinen Sipilään kohdistuneesta välikohtauksesta
Commercial broadcaster MTV published video footage of the incident on Friday. Image: MTV uutiset, Petteri Sopanen / Yle

Finland’s Parliament is set to begin an investigation into how video footage of a suspected assault on former Prime Minister Juha Sipilä (Cen) ended up in the public domain.

The incident was widely condemned when reports initially broke that a passerby had an altercation with Sipilä outside the parliament building.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) called the incident "serious and reprehensible" while Speaker of Parliament Anu Vehviläinen (Cen) said Finland should never accept public representatives being "subjected to violence".

On Friday, commercial broadcaster MTV published video material of the incident, but did not reveal how it had been obtained. However, the angle of the footage suggests that the material came from surveillance cameras attached to the Finnish Parliament Annex building.

Parliament's Administrative Director Pertti Rauhio told news agency STT that he cannot confirm with any certainty at this stage if the footage was taken from a parliamentary camera.

"It will have to be compared, but yes, it does seem a bit like it would be from the same angle," Rauhio said. "It's in the direction of the [Mannerheimintie] junction, as if it had been filmed from the 'Little Parliament' [Parliament Annex building]."

The two videos published by MTV show how the suspect, after an exchange of words, follows Sipilä and then appears to push him from behind.

The former PM stumbles and then stops, after which the suspect begins to follow him again.

The incident occurred at a pedestrian crossing on Arkadiankatu near the Parliament building on Thursday, 7 January. Police have said they are investigating the events as a suspected assault.

Security department to investigate

Parliament’s security department will compare the video material published by MTV with the surveillance cameras of the annex building, Rauhio said.

"If the recording is similar to what has come from us, then we have to consider whether it has been sent by us not only to the pre-trial police, but also to the public," he said, adding that the parliamentary systems should show who has had access to the surveillance camera recordings.

According to tabloid Iltalehti, Helsinki police are also interested in determining how the video ended up in the hands of the broadcaster.

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