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Supreme Court grants leave for journalist stalking appeal

In July a lower appeals court acquitted a defendant previously convicted of stalking Yle journalist Jessikka Aro.

Jessikka Aro.
Jessikka Aro. Image: Markku Ulander / Lehtikuva

Finland's Supreme Court says if filed, it will hear an appeal from Yle journalist Jessikka Aro in a case centred on charges of slander and stalking stemming from articles published by MV Lehti, a website known for publishing false news and anti-immigrant sentiments.

In mid-July, the Helsinki Court of Appeal upheld the conviction of an academic known for his close ties to Russia, Johan Backman, for inciting the website to publish offensive materials about Aro, starting in February 2016.

However, the court voided an earlier, separate conviction on charges of slandering and stalking the journalist. A 12-month suspended prison sentence handed down by the Helsinki District Court was reduced to three months as a result.

The Helsinki District Court had ruled that Bäckman repeatedly stalked Aro, for example, via messages and postings on Twitter and Facebook.

The main defendant in the case was Ilya Janitskin, the founder of the MV Lehti website. The Helsinki Court of Appeal did not make a ruling in his case, as he died before sentencing.

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