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Friday's papers: Sweden's worst nightmare, state secrets trial, and a pizza death threat

Finnish newspapers contemplate the possible scenarios if Finland joins Nato but Sweden does not.

Ruotsin hallituksen tiedotustilaisuus tiistaina 24.1.2022, puhumassa puolustusministeri Pal Jonson, pääministeri Ulf Kristersson ja ulkoministeri Tobias Billström.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson holding a press conference earlier this week to discuss his country's stalled Nato bid. Image: Pontus Lundahl / EPA
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In an opinion piece, tabloid Iltalehti writes (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that Sweden's "worst nightmare" — being left outside the Nato military alliance — could also be bad news for Finland.

The deterioration of diplomatic relations between Sweden and Turkey has led to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declaring that Sweden "should not expect support from us for Nato", and Swedish worries have been heightened even further by Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto's (Green) comments earlier this week that Finland may have to consider going it alone on Nato accession.

"Sweden would be left isolated in a dangerous in-between state: it would have already publicly renounced its principle of non-alignment, but would remain outside Nato's security guarantees," Iltalehti writes, adding that an aggressor could "test" Nato by launching an attack on the strategically important island of Gotland, for example.

Although this scenario is unlikely, IL notes that such an outcome would pose significant complications for Finland too, especially if Finland was by then a Nato member.

"All parties continue to emphasise that the best option for everyone is for Sweden and Finland to join Nato together. That must still be the starting point in Finland as well," IL concludes.

This week Yle News' podcast All Points North asked if Finland can complete Nato accession without Sweden. Listen here.

State secrets trial verdict due

Many papers also report on Friday that a verdict is expected in the trial of three Helsingin Sanomat employees, accused of disclosing state secrets or attempted disclosure of state secrets.

Oulu-based Kaleva writes (siirryt toiseen palveluun) that the case relates to a HS article from 2017, which delved into the operations of an intelligence facility located in Central Finland.

The prosecutor in the case has told the court that the publication of the article endangered Finland's national security, Kaleva notes, adding the highly-anticipated ruling is expected to be delivered at 1pm on Friday afternoon.

Pizza dispute leads to death threat

Helsingin Sanomat reports (siirryt toiseen palveluun) on a quite exceptional court case in Turku, in which a dispute over the cost of a pizza delivery led to death threats and a 5,000 euro fine.

HS writes that the defendant in the case called a local pizza restaurant to submit an order, and began haggling about the price while on the phone. The restaurant agreed to a 3 euro discount — meaning the cost of the order plus delivery would be 23 euros — but when the courier arrived the man only wanted to pay 15 euros.

An argument ensued, during which the court heard that the defendant threatened to kill the courier and even showed that he was carrying a handgun.

The district court initially ordered the defendant to pay a fine of 5,000 euros as well as the full cost of the order, although this was reduced on appeal to just 50 euros.

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