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Neo-Nazi leader sentenced to prison for Tampere football stadium assault

Jesse Torniainen, co-founder of a neo-Nazi group, has been sentenced to 50 days in prison for attacking security staff at a Tampere stadium. Torniainen was previously convicted for an attack that led to a man's death during a far-right event in Helsinki last year.

HIFK-kannattajat riehuivat Tampereella
HIFK fans at the match on Ascension Day, 2015. Image: Yle

A district court in Tampere has handed down prison sentences to four supporters of the HIFK football club for their roles in a brawl at a match in May 2015. Three of the men received suspended sentences while the fourth, a neo-Nazi with a violent criminal record, was sentenced to 50 days in prison.

Pirkanmaa District Court handed down its ruling on the case on Wednesday. It stems from a match between Helsinki's HIFK and local side Ilves at Tampere's Tammela Stadium in mid-May 2015.

The defendants were convicted of attacking three security guards at the stadium, including punching them, pushing them to the ground and kicking them. The guards were seriously injured.

Long string of assaults

Sentenced to 50 days in prison was Jesse Torniainen, co-founder of the neo-Nazi group SVL. The court took his criminal record into account in the sentencing.

Torniainen, 27, has previously been convicted of involvement in the death of a man he attacked during a far-right event outside Helsinki Railway Station in September 2016, as well as leading a mid-2015 neo-Nazi riot in Jyväskylä. He has a long string of other assaults and weapons convictions, including one for stabbing an immigrant in 2008.

Last December, Helsinki District Court sentenced Torniainen to two years in prison for the 2016 Helsinki assault, but that case is still wending its way through the legal process.

3 of 4 had criminal records

The others involved in the Tampere football melee received suspended sentences of 3-4 months. Two of the defendants denied all charges, while the other two admitted to some of them. The prosecutor had sought prison terms for three of them, as they had criminal records.

The sentences will not be implemented immediately as the defendants still have the right to appeal the decisions.

Two other men still face trial over the attacks at the Tammela stadium.

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