Finland: Police Investigate Possible Attempted Assassination of Populist Party Member

Finnish police patrols in front of the Cenral Railway Station in Helsinki on August 18, 20

Finnish police say that two people were involved in the attempted murder of Pekka Kataja, an activist who works for the populist-conservative Finns Party (PS).

The attack took place on July 17th, and police initially investigated the incident as a robbery and assault. But the investigation was later changed to attempted murder, with Kataja himself suggesting the attack could have had a political motive.

According to a report from Finland’s public broadcaster Yle, investigators believe that there were two people involved in the attack, which took place in Kataja’s home in the town of Jämsänkoski.

Teemu Karhunen, Central Commissioner of the Criminal Police, said on Tuesday: “The sequence of events has been well investigated and the police have a fairly clear picture of what happened at the time of the attack. Given the details of the attack, the matter is still being investigated as an assassination attempt.”

Pekka Kataja suggested last week that his attackers may have been extreme-right activists. Mr Kataja said he had made enemies on the extreme right after kicking people out of the party in Central Finland where he serves as Electoral Director of Central Finland for the Finns Party, formerly known as the True Finns.

As a result of the attack, Kataja suffered a skull fracture, a cerebral haemorrhage, and three broken ribs. He was treated at Tampere University Hospital and sent pictures of his injuries to a Finnish newspaper.

The incident bears some similarity to the attempted assassination of German populist MP Frank Magnitz last year. Magnitz, who sits in the German parliament for the Alternative for Germany (AfD), was brutally attacked by masked men in Bremen after he left a theatre, resulting in head injuries.

Far-left Antifa extremists later posted a claim of responsibility on the Antifa-friendly Indymedia web platform. The message said: “The anti-fascist spring Bremen announces that we wanted to free the AfD politician F. Magnitz of his fascist ideas on Monday at 18.00 clock local time.”

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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