Mika Ranta
Mika Ranta, founder of the Soldiers of Odin vigilante group, received an 18 month suspended sentence after being convicted of assaultGetty

One of the founders of the far-right Soldiers of Odin vigilante group has been given an 18-month suspended sentence after being convicted of assault. Mika Ranta, 29, was convicted of attacking a man, as well as a woman who tried to stop him, reports Finland's Yle news.

Founded in the northern Finnish town of Kemi last year, the Soldiers of Odin claim to be defending residents from criminal refugees.

Ranta has connections with the neo-Nazi Finnish Resistance Movement, as well as a 2005 conviction for racially aggravated assault.

As well as the suspended sentence, Ranta will also have to serve 50 hours of community service and pay 7,000 euros to the male victim of the attack after being convicted of assault and aggravated assault.

The news comes after a Finnish woman bought the copyright to the group's name to use for a range of clothing decorated with "glitter and unicorns" in protest against racism.

In the wake of mass sexual assaults by men of North African and Arab appearance in Cologne, Germany, on New Year's Eve, the group announced it had expanded to countries including Sweden, Estonia and Germany.