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Monday's papers: Drugs dismissal, Finns Party MP trial and terror charges dropped

Today's papers highlight the dismissal of a Theatre Academy lecturer, the trial of Finns Party MP Teuvo Hakkarainen and the London Police dropping terror charges on a Finnish man.

Perussuomalaisten kansanedustaja Teuvo Hakkarainen eduskunnan täysistunnossa Helsingissä 15. toukokuuta 2018.
Finns Party MP Teuvo Hakkarainen will go to court today Image: Vesa Moilanen / Lehtikuva

A lecturer at Helsinki’s Theatre Academy who helped his students familiarise themselves with hallucinogens has been discharged of his duties, reports tabloid Ilta-Sanomat. The dismissal of Eero-Tapio Vuori – teacher of the academy’s course on ritualistic theatre and performance – was related to the class curriculum and the advice he gave to students traveling to Peru to participate in an ayahuasca ritual, Ilta-Sanomat said.

The Dean of the Theatre Academy, Maarit Ruikka, said she had approved a study grant for one of Vuori’s students to research shamanism and the Peruvian rite, but was not aware of the details of the ceremony.

“I thought ayahuasca was the name of the ritual and I had no idea it involved the use of a substance that is classified as a drug in Finland,” Ruikka said.

Ayahuasca is a traditional spiritual medicine made of Amazonian plants that causes hallucinogenic effects. It is used by indigenous peoples in Peru and elsewhere in south America. According to Vuori, his six-week course focused on comparing rituals with theater, and over the course, he spent about two hours talking about the use of spiritual medicines.

Vuori has not yet decided whether to appeal the dismissal, Ilta-Sanomat said.

Terror charges dropped

Tabloid Iltalehti reports that a Finnish man arrested last week on suspicion of terrorism charges at a London airport has been freed. According to Iltalehti, the Metropolitan Police released the 29-year-old man with no further action on Sunday evening.

The man was detained at Heathrow Airport on 10 June and had been held at a police station in south London since then on suspicion of preparation of terrorist acts.

The Finnish Security Intelligence Service has been notified of the man’s release, but would not comment on the matter further, Iltalehti said. It has not been disclosed where the man was flying from and what his destination was.

Hakkarainen goes to court

Like many other papers this morning, daily Helsingin Sanomat reports that the trial of Finns Party MP Teuvo Hakkarainen, who has been charged with assaulting and sexually harassing another MP, will start today.

The incident, where Hakkarainen ‘forcefully kissed’ a National Coalition Party MP Veera Ruoho, took place during a Christmas party in Parliament last year.

According to witnesses, Hakkarainen was inebriated and grabbed Ruoho by the neck, attempting to kiss her. The trial will be held at Helsinki District Court.

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