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Iraqi cleared of planning to kill sister over "family honour"

Finland's highest court has for the first time considered a case involving the planning of a murder or assault. It upheld a lower court ruling in a case of a young Iraqi man who sent threatening messages to his teenage sister because she was not following the family's Islamic traditions.

KKO:n tunnus sisäänkäyntiaulassa.
The Supreme Court has considered the case for the third and final time. Image: Marko Oja / Korkein oikeus

The Supreme Court has dismissed a case against an Iraqi man accused of plotting to kill his teenage sister for disregarding the family's religious and cultural traditions.

This is the first time the Supreme Court has ruled on a case involving the charge of planning a threat to the life or health of the victim.

The man, a resident of Helsinki, was two years ago convicted on several counts by a district court of preparing for a so-called "honour killing". He was sentenced to just over two years in prison.

In early 2016, most of that ruling was overturned by an appeals court, reducing the man's sentence to six months for assault. That decision was allowed to stand by the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

"Improper" clothing and socialising

The prosecutor alleged that the man, then 20, had repeatedly threatened to kill or beat the girl, who was 16 at the time. She had violated her family's wishes by going out, meeting others of her own age and dressing in a manner they considered improper.

The Supreme Court, in the third and final consideration of the case, only considered the charge of planning a violent crime, for which it did not find sufficient evidence.

The court declared that messages sent by the man were not enough to prove that he had truly intended to commit murder. It noted that he had earlier sent threatening messages to his sister and others without actually carrying out the threats.

The judges also decided on leniency as the man had admitted to making a mistake by using such strong language. They added that his messages also reflected concern for his family members and that he had repeatedly stated that nothing would happen to the girl if she returned home.

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