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Justice Minister: No sex offender registry needed

A Facebook group page publishing photos and information about convicted pedophiles in Finland was closed down earlier this month, but the same group has started a new page on the social website. Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson says Finland needs no public register of sex offenders.

Oikeusministeri Anna-Maja Henriksson (r., kuvassa keskellä).
Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson (centre of photo). Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

For three years, the Facebook page "Ei hyssyttelyä pedofiileille" (No coddling pedophiles) published the photos of and personal information about people condemned by Finnish courts for sexual offenses against minors. Facebook deleted the account on the 19th of June.

The page was maintained by a group calling itself "Finnish Pedohunters". As soon as the Facebook account was closed, another with the same purpose and content was set up.

Endangering victims' privacy

The actions of the group have come under criticism for endangering the privacy of the victims of sex crimes. Publication of personal information about the offenders can make it easy to identify victims.

The group maintaining the Facebook page has countered that the law is not tough enough on the sexual exploitation of minors and so they are entitled to publish information about offenders

The Ministry of Justice is currently drafting revisions of rape laws. Justice Minister Anna-Maja Henriksson says that they will include stiffer sentences for sex crimes targeting children. The bill is to be introduced to Parliament this coming autumn.

No reason for registry

The Finnish Pedohunters group has launched on online legislative initiative calling for the establishment of an American-style sex offender registry.

Justice Minister Henriksson says she sees no reason to set up a public registry. She, as well, has been critical of the "No coddling pedophiles" Facebook page.

"I find it problematic that private individuals start their own registries of criminal offenders. This is a matter that now must be given some attention," Henriksson told Yle.

The police have received a formal complaint calling for an investigation into the activities of the Finnish Pedohunters group. The group's application to be registered as an official organization has not yet been approved. Registry authorities say that the application contains several points that do not fulfill public association registry requirements.

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