On Tuesday the Helsinki Court of Appeals began handling the case against city councilman Jussi Halla-aho, who was convicted last autumn of violating the right of peaceful worship. His conviction was based on comments he published in his blog, which the prosecutor says were inflammatory and racist remarks about Islam and minority groups. A verdict is expected in August.

The prosecutor is also seeking a conviction for inciting violence against an ethnic group, a charge the lower court dismissed. Halla-aho himself is seeking a dismissal of both charges.

The lower court found that Halla-aho, an independent politician on the right-wing True Finns' ticket, had offended the Islamic faith in his blog by making a link between Islam and paedophilia. He had also written that Somalis were either genetically or culturally predisposed to mugging people and living on government handouts.

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