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Anneli Auer to be paid record-high distress damages

A woman whose conviction for killing her husband was overturned is to be paid nearly half a million euros for wrongful imprisonment and emotional suffering.

Anneli Auer Suomi-Areena-tapahtumassa Porissa heinäkuussa.
Auer said at the Suomi Areena event in Pori in July that she knows who killed her husband. Image: Pasi Murto / AOP

The State Treasury has awarded the largest damages for emotional distress in Finnish history to Anneli Auer, who was convicted of killing her husband Jukka S. Lahti in 2006.

The treasury announced on Wednesday that Auer will receive nearly 490,000 euros for spending 611 days in prison for the crime.

Convicted sex offender Auer was granted 800 euros per day of imprisonment, whereas the average recompense is 120 euros per day. The treasury rationalises the higher daily sum by the length of her loss of liberty and the seriousness of the suspected crime.

Auer had sought damages of 2500 euros per day, citing the high level of publicity surrounding the case, which has been a hotly-debated topic in the Finnish media for nearly a decade.

Decade of media coverage

Lahti was murdered at their family home in Ulvila, near Pori, on December 1, 2006. The case remains unsolved. There have been many twists and turns in the story, including Auer's affair with an undercover policeman and her conviction for aggravated sexual abuse of children.

She was released in mid-2015 after serving about half of a seven-and-a-half year sentence for those offences.

Auer's lawyer Juha Manner tells Yle that he is not entirely satisfied with the damages decision and that Auer may appeal to a district court. He asserts that the ruling does not sufficiently take into account the level of media coverage of the case, and that Auer spent more than 611 days in prison on the murder charges.

The tabloid Ilta-Sanomat was first to report the story.

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