HELSINKI – Parliamentarians’ legal immunity under discussion

On Wednesday (24 June) the Finnish parliament entered a debate on what its members can and cannot say in public, after a single quote sparked discussion.

A year ago, Finns Party MP, Juha Mäenpää, compared asylum seekers to invasive species during one of his speeches before parliament. 

As a result, Mäenpää was investigated for inciting hatred against ethnic minorities.

Earlier this year, the country’s Prosecutor General gave a statement that charges should be filed. And in June the Constitutional Law Committee recommended that Mäenpää’s prosecutorial immunity should be removed.

Finnish MPs’ freedom of expression is protected under the Constitution as they cannot be prosecuted for voicing their opinions in parliament. Charges against an MP would have to be approved by five-sixths of parliament, which is about 167 out of 200 MPs. 

The last time parliament was put to vote on such an issue was in the 1970s. (Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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