According to the Criminal Sanctions Agency (Rise), the first Finnish national convicted of terrorist offences abroad was transferred to Finland within the past year to serve his sentence here.
According to information obtained by Yle, the individual is a 26-year-old man. The felon was slapped with four-year prison sentence for terrorism in Esbjerg, Denmark in March 2018. The man’s Danish defence attorney confirmed to Yle that he had been transferred to Finland to serve his sentence.
Rise reportedly has information about another Finnish individual in another European country, who is being considered for transfer to Finland. However the country in question has said that it will not make a transfer proposal not has the matter come to the agency for consideration.
The transfer of a prisoner requires agreement from both countries as well as the prisoner’s consent.
Isis religious instructor
The man who was recently moved to Finland was found by a Danish court to have joined the terrorist organisation Isis and provided religious teachings in the organisation’s Koranic school. The convicted man’s lawyer, Mette Grith Stage said that her client did not wish to remain in Denmark and that he had been sent to Finland several months ago.
Stage said that the prisoner would not have been able to stay in Denmark after serving his sentence, because Danish authorities had issued a deportation order and slapped him with a lifetime entry ban.
“He has no family here and he does not speak Danish. He wanted to return to Finland,” Stage told Yle.
The man was born in Finland and at the age of 13 moved to Manchester, England with his Somali-born father. The family’s mother did not move with the rest of the family.
The man was a member of the same group of friends that included the individual responsible for the bombing of the Manchester Arena in May 2017. The attack claimed 22 lives and injured more than 500.
The Finnish citizen travelled to Syria in 2013 and lived there until 2015. He returned to Finland from Syria for a short time, but moved to Denmark for university studies, having been previously banned from re-entering the UK. However he was arrested in Denmark in 2017.
His trial revealed that during his time in Finland, he met with one of his Manchester acquaintances. The pair had been in Syria at the same time. Last summer the other Manchester associate was convicted for terrorist acts in Denmark.
Lawyer: He has learned from his mistakes
During his trial, the Finnish man disclosed that he had a wife and small child in England. His wife had also spent time with him in Syria and had returned with him to Finland for his short visit.
The defence attorney told Yle that she did not know of the whereabouts of the man’s family. Stage said that she had urged her client to appeal his verdict in Denmark, but he refused, claiming that he did not want to wait in prison for the case to be heard.
“He gave the impression that he had really learned from his mistakes. The man who was convicted here in Denmark is a very different person from the one who was in Syria. He no longer believes in that ideology,” she declared.
The Criminal Sanctions Agency did not say whether or not the man is still in prison. Sentencing handed down in a foreign court can be changed to correspond to Finnish standards. However this does not apply to sentencing handed down in other Nordic countries.
All the same, it is possible for first-time offenders to be eligible for parole after serving half their sentence. According to information obtained by Yle, the man in question has no previous convictions in Finland.
The sanctions agency only maintains information about requests for intra-EU prisoner transfers. Such transfers outside the EU are handled by the Justice Ministry.
The ministry said that it has no knowledge of Finnish citizens convicted of terrorist offences outside the EU awaiting transfer to Finland.
The Foreign Ministry has said that there are fewer than 10 Finns suspected or convicted of terrorist crimes worldwide. However it declined to provide precise figures.