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Man on trial for planned 2018 bomb attack targeting “foreigners and Muslims”

The accused is charged with planning to set off a bomb in a crowded Helsinki street on New Year's Eve 2018.

The Helsinki District Court building. Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

Helsinki District Court began hearings in a case Thursday in which a 22 year-old man is charged with planning to explode a homemade bomb on a crowded central Helsinki street during 2018 New Year's Eve celebrations.

The prosecutor in the case says that the accused planned an attack on crowds which would include "many foreigners and Muslims".

According to the charges, the defendant carried out a test of an explosive device before being arrested in October 2018.

In addition, the charges say that the accused downloaded bomb making instructions from the internet and made plans to steal materials needed to produce a bomb from his workplace.

The defendant has denied committing a crime, but has admitted to making explosives and talked about setting off an explosion while intoxicated.

During a preliminary investigation, the accused stated that he wished that different cultures and religions did not coexist. He expressed the view that Europe should be for "European culture".

The accused was held by police during the initial investigation for a week before being released. The prosecution is now calling for a prison sentence for the defendant in the case.

During Thursday's court hearing, the accused used an interpreter. According to the national population registry, the defendant has no address in Finland.

The start of court hearings was first reported by the Helsinki daily Iltalehti.