A court has sentenced a man to 510 hours' community service, after finding him guilty of desecrating the Ukrainian flag.
The man had originally been sentenced to three months' jail time, to which over a year's suspended sentence for a prior offense was added, while the entire jail time was superseded by the community service penalty.
The first-tier Harju County Court found Aleksandr Hänninen, 50, guilty of desecrating Ukraine's national flag.
The charge sheet stated that on August 16 this year, Hänninen stepped on a Ukrainian flag and wiped his feet with it.
Video evidence presented at trial proved his guilt, the court argued, given that his statements at the time indicate he both saw the flag as a symbol of Ukraine, and, as such, intended to desecrate the flag.
While Hänninen initially, during pre-trial proceedings, declined to accept culpability, with the defense that the flag was in fact a piece of material that happened to resemble the Ukrainian flag, he later pleaded guilty, and expressed regret over his actions.
Hänninen was initially sentenced to three months in prison, reduced by a third, i.e to two months, while, since he committed the crime while on probation for an earlier offense, a one-year-three-month suspended sentence relating to the earlier offense was added, bringing a total of one year and three months' jail time.
This was in turn replaced by 510 hours' community service, to be completed within two years, while Hänninen must pay €490.50 in procedural costs.
Editor: Andrew Whyte