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National prosecutor to begin initial probe into suspected al-Hol media leak

The inquiry will determine if a confidential government document was leaked and if a formal investigation is warranted.

Niqabiin pukeutunut nainen sai ruoka-apua al-Holin leirillä Syyriassa 22. heinäkuuta.
The National Police Board suspects that a plan to evacuate Finns from the al-Hol camp in Syria was leaked. Image: Delil Souleiman / AFP
Yle News

The National Prosecution Authority said on Monday that it will begin a preliminary probe into the alleged leak of a confidential government document to the media.

The state prosecutor’s office said that the initial inquiry stems from a request by the National Police Board for an investigation into the suspected leak of a plan to repatriate Finnish citizens at the al-Hol refugee camp in Syria.

The prosecutor’s office will consider whether or not there are sufficient grounds to launch a police investigation into the suspected media leak.

The freshly-installed government led by SDP vice chair Sanna Marin faces a confidence vote in Parliament over opposition claims that Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto did not disclose details of the alleged plan to MPs.

Jussi Halla-aho, chair of the largest opposition group, the Finns Party, has also raised concerns about a potential security risk posed by some of the returning adults.

Police chief suspects leak

Both Yle and daily Helsingin Sanomat have based some of their reporting on the matter on the leaked document. The material detailed a Foreign Ministry-led proposal for the November evacuation of willing Finnish nationals from the al-Hol camp.

The document also outlined planned police activities after the repatriations and was signed by police commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen.

Last week the police chief told Demokraatti, the Social Democratic Party-backed news service, that he thought it was possible that the plan had been leaked by police.

"There is reason to suspect that there has been illegal activity and that confidential information has been leaked to the public," Kolehmainen was quoted as saying.

Once the initial probe has been completed, the prosecutor’s office will decide whether or not a formal preliminary investigation to look into a possible criminal offence.

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