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Helsinki police detain three on suspicion of child sex offences

Police said that all of the suspects have foreign backgrounds.

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Image: Emilia Malin / Yle

Helsinki police said Sunday that they had held three men on Saturday evening on suspicion of aggravated child sexual abuse and aggravated rape. However they did not specify whether or not both of the offences applied to all of the suspects, who reportedly have foreign backgrounds.

Officials said they are investigating a series of offences they believe took place during the past two months at an eastern Helsinki residence, however they declined to disclose the number of alleged victims as well as their ages.

Finnish news agency STT previously reported that the men were held in Helsinki’s Roihuvuori district, however police did not confirm this information to Yle but said that the operation took place in eastern Helsinki.

On Saturday night STT said that police raided a home in Roihuvuori and that officials at the time said that the operation related to a previous investigation.

The police raid was first reported by tabloid Ilta-Sanomat. Police said that they would not provide any further updates on the case at this stage.

Police in Oulu are investigating several cases of suspected child sexual abuse, the first of which came to light late last year. No charges have yet been laid in those cases.

Since the investigations came to light there have been repeated calls for dual nationals convicted of serious crimes to be stripped of Finnish citizenship.

President calls for solutions, pragmatism

On Saturday President Sauli Niinistö said that it is "unacceptable" that more cases of suspected child sexual abuse had been uncovered in Oulu.

"It is unacceptable that some people who have asked for and even received asylum from us have brought evil here and created [a sense of] insecurity here," the President said in a statement.

He added that the right to personal integrity is among the values on which Finnish society is based and with which everyone should comply.

"As I said in connection with the previous suspects, the actions in Oulu have shocked us because of their inhumanity. This was compounded by the fact that they targeted children," he added.

However Niinistö noted that migrants should be given a chance to settle in Finland.

"Even in the most sensitive matters we need an open and pragmatic discussion and should weigh decisions carefully. Problems must be addressed and solved. That is the right of all those people who want to adjust to our society, regardless of their background."

Edit: Updated at 11.31am to include comments by President Sauli Niinistö.

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