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Prosecutor: 'Drunk' suspect tried to attack ex-foreign minister Soini

The incident occurred while Timo Soini was campaigning for his new Blue Reform party at a farmers' market in Vantaa.

Vastaaja oikeuden istunnossa
The defendant sitting in court. Image: Tuomas Rimpiläinen

The trail began on Monday in Eastern Uusimaa District Court of a man accused of attempting to attack former Finns Party leader Timo Soini at a farmer's market in Vantaa in March 2019.

According to the prosecutor in the case, the defendant was drunk at the time of the suspected attack, when he shouted "traitor" before attempting to strike Soini with a half-litre plastic bottle.

The suspect -- who was wearing clothing with the logo of anti-immigrant group Soldiers of Odin -- was tackled to the ground by Soini's two security guards, one of whom was seriously injured in the incident.

The defendant will face one charge of attempted assault, two charges of assault and a further charge of violently resisting arrest. He will also face a charge of drunk driving, as the prosecutor added the suspect drove a moped on the same day.

Soini was Finland's foreign minister at the time of the attack and was campaigning for his new party Blue Reform ahead of parliamentary elections in April.

"Without [name of security guard's] speed and prompt intervention, the blow would have hit me. Instead it hit him," Soini said in court, adding that the security guard was later awarded a medal for his role in preventing the attack.

The court heard that the security guard, who also worked as a police officer, was on sick leave for a total of 123 days due to the injuries he sustained.

The defendant has denied the charges, telling the court he was "misunderstood" in the incident. He has published a substantial number of posts on social criticising Finland's immigration policy as well as sharing content produced by well-known far-right groups.

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