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Court hands lengthy prison sentences to Helsinki rappers

In its ruling, Helsinki District Court said the two individuals were leaders of an organised criminal group.

Helsingin käräjäoikeudessa alkoi perjantaina 4. maaliskuuta 2022 helsinkiläisen ja espoolaisen katujengin yhteenottojen käsittely. Kuvassa ihmisiä astuu oikeussaliin.
The case was heard at Helsinki District Court. Image: Kristiina Lehto / Yle
Yle News

The Helsinki District Court has handed down lengthy prison sentences to the suspected leaders of a street gang connected to violent incidents in the Helsinki metropolitan region.

The court sentenced Milan Jaff, 22, known for his music videos and raps on social media, to 10 years in prison. In its ruling, the court said that Jaff is the leader of an organised criminal group known as the Kurdish Mafia, which uses "47" as a code number and alternate name.

The charges against Jaff included assault, attempted murder, a firearms offence, threatening a person to be heard in the administration of justice, aggravated robbery, aggravated deprivation of liberty, a drug offence, and preparing a serious felony against life or health.

Yahue Mahdi Mohamud, 26, was sentenced to nine years in prison as the court ruled he is a key individual in the Helsinki street gang. Mohamud is better known by his stage name Cavallini.

Mohamud's conviction was for attempted murder, a firearms offence, aggravated robbery, aggravated deprivation of liberty, a drug offence and preparing a serious felony against life or health.

In total, there are 15 defendants and 19 indictments in the case. Other men in their twenties, mostly associated with the Helsinki gang, were sentenced to shorter prison terms for charges which included preparing a felony against life or health and other illegal threats.

Gang violence

The court viewed the gang as responsible for a shooting that occurred in Espoo on 5 September 2021. The leaders of the Kurdish Mafia gang had attempted to kill the leaders of a rival gang in Espoo. No one was killed in the shooting, as the bullets did not penetrate the windows of the targeted house, but ten shots were fired.

The court's evidence that Kurdish Mafia was behind the shooting was a recorded conversation between Jaff and Mohamud in which they discussed being caught in the "Espoo thing".

The gang also planned an attack on the Kaivohuone night club in Helsinki. The members gathered weapons and prepared to attack, but once police discovered their plot, the gang abandoned the plan.

Additionally, Jaff and a rapper from an Espoo gang are being investigated for a Vantaa shooting in late August, which police consider two assassination attempts.

Organised criminal group

In its decision, the Helsinki District Court ruled the gang to be an organised criminal group.

Among the grounds cited in the conviction is that the criminal activity was motivated by the members' desire to protect the "integrity" and "honour" of the group through serious violence and the threat thereof.

The prosecution demanded harsher sentences for the accused, based on the organised nature of the group. According to the prosecutor, the fact that the group has a name, a meeting place, leaders and symbols, among other things, indicates that it is organised.

Poliisin esitutkintamateriaaleista poimittu kuva, jossa jengiläisten ase ja numero 47 tatuointeja.
Gang tattoos Image: Poliisi

Some of the people associated with the gang have tattoos such as an AK-47 assault rifle or the number 47. The group has planned crimes together and have met afterwards.

According to the accused, the group is not an organised criminal group, but a group of friends who are mainly involved in music. The defendants deny that they belong to any gang.

According to police interviewed by Yle last week, the situation between the gangs involved in the case— the Helsinki-based Kurdish Mafia and their rival Espoo gang— has calmed down since the key figures were apprehended.

Yle has published the name of Milan Jaff and Yahue Mahdi Mohamud because they have lowered their privacy by being public figures with large social media presences.

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