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Terror laws may be expanded to include incitement, pro-terrorist religious or ideological education

The government argues that incitement to terrorism should be punishable, even if it does not pose a concrete risk of crime.

Oikeusministeri Anna-Maja Henriksson. 22.4.2021.
According to Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson (SPP), the reform is important because terrorism threatens the basic functions of society. Image: Jorge Gonzalez / Yle
Yle News

On Thursday, the government submitted a bill to Parliament amending anti-terrorism legislation.

According to Minister of Justice Anna-Maja Henriksson (SPP), the reform is important because terrorism threatens the basic functions of society.

The cabinet aims to expand the criminalisation of terrorist offenses.

For example, the proposal would make it punishable to perform any function essential to the criminal activities of a terrorist group. This might mean participating in a group's armed activities, including training, ensuring a group's operational readiness or encouraging terrorist offenses, for example.

Religious or ideological education could be criminal

According to the proposal, the provision of religious or ideological education that promotes terrorist crime would also be punishable in the future.

New possible criminal charges to be introduced would include public incitement to terrorist crimes. This could be, for example, a call to join a terrorist group or to commit a terrorist offense.

Public incitement to commit a crime is already punishable. What would be new about the proposal would be that inciting a terrorist offense would not require that the incitement involves the actual risk of committing a terrorist offense.

Such incitement could be perpetrated, for example, through the media or social media, in a crowd or at a public event. In addition, the financing of a terrorist offense and travel for the commission of a terrorist offense would become more widely punishable.

The proposal also proposes changes to the provisions on secret coercive measures and secret means of obtaining information.

If Parliament approves the proposal, the reforms would enter into force next autumn.

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The group did not specify how much security training should be extended, but noted that guards need more guidance about the legal prerequisites on the use of physical force.