Abdirahim “Husu” Hussein, a Somali-born Finnish politician, apologised for faking a hate crime, when he said he had to throw someone out of a taxi for racial abuse.
Hussein sat on Helsinki city council as a member of the Finnish Social Democrat party (SDP) – at the start of November he tweeted about a potential hate crime that he experienced working as a part-time taxi driver.
Hussein tweeted that he was forced to boot a passenger out of his vehicle after they had questioned what he was doing in Finland, and told him to go back to Somalia.
He later changed his story, claiming that he had not kicked them out on a main road, but on a bus stop instead. His employer, Taksi Helsinki, found upon an investigation that the GPS data from his car did not match up with his story at all.
“We investigated the course of events and talked to Hussein. Then it emerged that his story did not match and that no one was left by the side of the road,” said Jari Kantonen, the CEO of the company.
Hussein admitted that he lied about the “hate crime” to the Finnish broadcaster YLE.
“I apologize for my actions and for lying. As a decision-maker, it is my duty, to be honest. I depend on my voters’ trust and I have now broken that trust. I shall do everything I can to restore trust in my actions,” he said in a tweet.
Eveliina Heinäluoma, the chairwoman of the SDP on the Helsinki city council, said that Hussein was suspended until the end of June next year:
The reason is lying and the consequent lack of trust. The group requires that every councillor is honest and behaves in the dignified manner that is expected of councillors. Also Husu clearly must behave this way in the future in order to be able to serve as a member of the group… I am extremely disappointed in [his actions]… A person in a position of responsibility should act with the dignity required of the position.
After his suspension was announced, it was revealed that Hussein had also failed to notify the SDP that he had previously been convicted of fraud three times (in 2001, 2002 and 2006) – he had received €10,000 in fraudulent welfare payments. Antton Rönnholm, the national secretary of the SDP, said the party was not aware of his past convictions.
The story comes in the same week as a Finnish MP was accused of a hate crime. National File reported how Päivi Räsänen, a member of parliament for the Christian Democrats and Finland’s former Interior Minister, criticised the national Evangelical Lutheran Church for their participation in a Pride event.
“How does the foundation of the church’s teachings, the Bible, fit with elevating sin and shame as reasons for pride,” she asked.
She was subject to a pretrial investigation by the Finnish police for “incitement against sexual and gender minorities,” making her the third MP to be investigated for a hate crime.