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Interior Minister, Blue Reform repeat call to strip citizenship from dual citizen sex criminals

Politicians are calling for harsher punishments after four new alleged sexual assault cases by foreign-born perpetrators surfaced on Friday.

Kai Mykkänen
Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen said dual citizens should be deported for sex crimes. Image: Yle
Yle News

Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen went on Yle's morning programme on Saturday to decry four new cases of suspected sexual assault against minors in Oulu.

"If someone violates one of our basic values, the physical integrity of another individual, I consider that a national threat," Mykkänen said on television. He was booked last-minute for the appearance after vice-president of the European Commission Jyrki Katainen was delayed in Vienna.

The minister also repeated his stance that dual citizens who are found guilty of aggravated sexual assault should be summarily stripped of their Finnish citizenship. Mykkänen previously suggested the measure in December.

"It's unacceptable for someone to come to Finland in search of safety only to create more insecurity themselves. These crimes have no place in this country, and we cannot let the matter rest."

Police in Oulu said Friday that they have launched a preliminary investigation into four new cases of suspected sexual abuse of girls under the age of 15. The announcement follows a previous round of investigations last November in which eight immigrant-background men were detained on suspicion of committing five similar offences against underage girls.

In a release issued on Friday, police said that the alleged offences took place during summer 2018. Law enforcement have held three foreign-background individuals in connection with the crimes. Police suspect four people of the alleged offences, two of whom are about 20 and two are minors.

According to Mykkänen, the suspects in the newest assault cases have come to Finland from Northern Africa and the Middle East. Some of the suspected men are Finnish citizens and some are awaiting asylum decisions, he said.

PM: "I cannot understand"

On Friday Prime Minister Juha Sipilä also expressed his grief and "disgust" at the new series of sexual crimes, saying he understands the worry and anxiety that many people are feeling.

Sipilä said that everyone who comes to Finland should respect Finland's laws and the principle of personal integrity. He said that Finland's asylum system cannot protect criminals.

"Our thoughts are with the victims and their families following these completely inhumane and reprehensible acts. I cannot understand this kind of violence and indifference."

Blue Reform promotes hard line

Following Friday's announcement the conservative political party Blue Reform is demanding that government hold an emergency meeting over the suspicions of sexual assault. Chair Sampo Terho said in a statement that more information is needed.

"The government must receive the necessary facts and hear what courses of action experts are suggesting. The government must act fast to provide all possible support to the authorities and the victims of these crimes."

In the same release the party also demands that asylum seekers who commit sexual crimes should be deported. Terho said his party promotes "harsher punishments, more controlled immigration, speedy forced deportations and proper resources for police".

Edit: Added Prime Minister Juha Sipilä's comments.

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