The Helsinki District Court has sentenced a Helsinki man to a four-month suspended sentence for illegally threatening and defaming Minister of the Interior, Maria Ohisalo.
In early October, the man published a picture on social media with a target drawn on the minister's face and threatened to “hunt” her.
He also threatened to drive a truck with explosives to the Pasila police station and blow up the place to get his message across. The accused also wrote that he is sending a "package" to the interior ministry.
Hate speech cannot be protected as free speech
The accused has said that his intentions were to criticise Ohisalo's actions. He said he wanted to draw attention to the fact that investigations were not launched into cases in which, according to the suspect, police committed crimes against him.
The District Court found that the writing and the image in themselves fall within the scope of the right to freedom of expression, which has broad protection under Finnish law. However, the Court noted that hate speech or other statements against the fundamental values of human rights do not enjoy the protection of freedom of expression.
The court ruled that the man's actions were serious and that his act has targeted Ohisalo for her position in public office.
Ohisalo's lawyer Markku Fredman said he is satisfied with the verdict. Defence lawyer Katariina Kuronen said her client is still considering whether to appeal the decision.
The accused posted the threats in early October and a trial was held in mid-November. He was detained during the investigation.