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New bill proposes three years in prison for receiving terrorism training

Next week parliament will begin debating tougher terrorism laws that will criminalise receiving training in terrorist methods. Sponsoring terrorism has been a crime in Finland since 2002.

Käsirautoja rivissä.
Handcuffs at the US prison camp Guantanamo Bay, Cuba Image: Michelle Shepherd / EPA

The government presented a new bill to parliament on Thursday which proposes to make taking part in terrorist training an offence punishable by law. The proposed changes to the statute will put into law the 2010 counter terrorism strategy. Parliament will begin debating the changes next week.

The government bill also proposes to strengthen the laws against sponsoring terrorism. This would mean someone could be convicted not only of financing terrorist acts, but also for funding any related training, or other forms of promotion of terrorism. Currently someone convicted of sponsoring terrorism can receive a custodial sentence of up to eight years.

Receiving training to commit acts of terrorism is not yet an offence in Finland, although providing the training is. The government’s bill proposes punishments for a person who receives training in explosives, weapons, the manufacture of hazardous substances or other terrorist methods. The sentence can be a fine or prison term of up to three years.

Although funding terrorism was criminalised in Finland 12 years ago, no-one has yet been convicted of a terrorist crime in this country. Authorities say they are aware that some residents of Finland have taken part in terrorist training abroad.

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