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Finland's sentence upheld in case of saving life of 9 Chechen children

Last update: 22 November 2012, 20:51
Publication time: 21 November 2012, 18:44

Finland's Supreme Court has denied an appeal bid by a man convicted of illegally bringing Chechen asylum seekers into the country and thus saving life of 9 Chechen children threatened by the KGB.

In early 2011, Finnish prosecutors Mikko Sipilä and Maren Salvesen called for the imprisonment of Mikael Storsjo due to his role in the facilitation in the "illegal" entry of dozens of Chechen asylum seekers into Finland.

 

The Vantaa District Court decided that there was no crime because Storsjo, the well known Finnish human rights defender did not obtain a profit through the acts and moreover, all of his motives were humanitarian in nature. He simply wanted to help people who were in need of international protection.

 

However, Finnish prosecutors were not satisfied with the decision and appealed to an upper court.

 

In June 2012, the Helsinki Appeals Court sentenced Storsjo to a four-month suspended prison term without considering his motives or the clear Finnish law on "acts with humanitarian reasons". This time, Storsjo appealed to Finland's Supreme Court but, on November 21 the court rejected his appeal. So, the original four month suspended prison sentence will remain in effect.

 

Storsjo said that he is not worried about the decision because he knows that he did the right thing. His lawyer is also going to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights, so it might take some time but justice eventually prevail.

 

A lawyer said that Finnish Criminal Law states "An act which, when taking into account the motives of the person committing it and the circumstances pertaining to the safety of the foreigner in his/her home country or country of permanent residence, and when assessed as a whole, is to be deemed committed under vindicating circumstances, does not constitute arrangement of illegal immigration," therefore, there is no criminal element in Storsjo's acts and the court's decision is totally bizarre and scandalous.

 

Between 2007 and 2010, Storsjo helped 24 Chechen asylum seekers, including 9 children, with their flights from Turkey to Finland because Chechen asylum seekers in Turkey have no basic human rights. They are forced to live in inhumane living conditions, and there is also a lack of security. For example, 6 Chechen asylum seekers have been assassinated in Turkey since 2007 and all of the murders remained unsolved.


Chechnya was racked by a decade and a half of Russian violence and atrocities beginning in 1994.

Sources: Agencies

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