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Court rules to deport Iraqi man convicted of assault in 'honour killing' case

Finland’s Supreme Administrative Court has ruled to deport an Iraqi man who was cleared of charges related to plotting a so-called honour killing of his sister -- but was convicted of assault. The court found that the violence, which was based on a family’s internal cultural practices, shows a disregard for the Finnish constitution and international agreements.

Korkeimman hallinto-oikeuden talo Helsingin Fabianinkadulla.
The Supreme Administrative Court dismissed the man's defence that the attacks on his sister were based on cultural practices. Image: Yle

A 22-year-old Iraqi man cleared of planning a so-called honour killing involving his sister is to be deported from Finland, following a ruling from the Supreme Administrative Court on Friday.

The court found that the man, who was appealing his deportation, had assaulted his sister on several occasions.

"[He] slapped his sister in the face, kicked her on the legs, hit her with the handle of a hookah and torn out her hair," the court said in a statement.

In his defence, the man attributed the attacks to cultural practices. He came to Finland with his mother in 2010 at the age of 16.

"In criminal hearings, the complainant has said that in his culture, a girl must live according to certain rules, and because his sister did not obey him, he has inflicted the previously-mentioned physical violence on her."

The Supreme Administrative Court found the family’s internal cultural practices demonstrated a disregard for the values of the Finnish constitution and international agreements.

According to the Aliens’ Act, a foreign resident of Finland can be deported if he or she is found guilty of a crime that is punishable with a maximum sentence of at least two years.

Courts: 'Honour killing' plot difficult to prove

The Court ruling concerns the same man who was accused of plotting a so-called honour killing of his sister, a suspected offence that was tried in the courts in early July.

A police officer who was a witness in the case said that the sister was believed to have dishonoured the family by behaving in a culturally inappropriate manner, and the man in question considered killing her in order to restore honour to the family. He was accused of planning this with his father, who was a resident of Iraq.

Prosecutors charged that in April 2015 the man send chat messages to several people in which he mentioned stabbing, starving, eating and burying his sister.

The Finnish Supreme Court declared that at the time the man had repeatedly threatened his sister with violence and death. The court said, however, that the man had also threatened several other people and the nature of the threats varied. Because of this, the Supreme Court said that it could not conclusively find that he had settled on a detailed plan for killing the young woman.

The higher court also said that it was not possible to prove that the 22-year-old and his father had colluded to commit the crime. The case represented a precedent for the court.

An appeal court had also previously dismissed the 'honour killing' charges. Prior to that, a district court had sentenced the man to two years in prison for aggravated plotting to endanger life and health and assault.

Friday’s ruling means that the Supreme Court will no longer hear the assault case. A six-month suspended prison sentence handed down by the appeal court for assault will however remain in force.

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