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Suspended sentence for leader of far-right library attack

A court in Jyväskylä has handed down a suspended sentence and fines related to a scuffle outside a discussion event on the far right in Finland.

Huppariin pukeutunut syytetty käräjäoikeuden kuultavana.
The main suspect appeared in court wearing a hood and scarf. Image: Yle Keski-Suomi

Central Finland District Court has handed down sentences to four men involved in an altercation at a book discussion event two years ago at Jyväskylä Library.

In late January 2013, three men tried to enter a discussion event on a book about far-right activities in Finland.

On Wednesday the main perpetrator, who stabbed a man guarding the event, received a suspended prison sentence of a year and a half and was fined several thousand euros. The prosecutor had demanded at least two years in prison.

The 23-year-old faced an array of charges including assault and attempted interference with political activities.

He was also convicted of a pepper spray attack one of the book’s authors, leftist politician Dan Koivulaakso, at a gay rights event in Oulu the previous summer. The other authors of the book are Li Andersson, chair of the Left Alliance youth organisation and journalist Mikael Brunila.

Poliiseja tapahtumapaikalla Jyväskylän kirjaston luentosalin ulkopuolella.
Police on the scene after the incident. Image: Yle

Doorman also fined

Two other participants in the library incident were fined, including one who wielded a telescopic baton against the main perpetrator when he tried to enter the event.

The 23-year-old took out a knife and struck a man in the back with it. The victim was informally serving as a guard outside the event, which went on as planned.

At least two of the three who arrived with the aim of disrupting the discussion were active in the extreme right-wing group Suomen vastarintaliike (the Finnish Resistance Movement), reports the daily Helsingin Sanomat. On its website, the group describes itself as "national socialist".

Fugitive caught by chance

The main attacker in the case was a fugitive from justice for nearly two years after the event. He was caught last November in the eastern city of Kuopio by chance when police were looking for a suspect in an unrelated case.

Officers were seeking for a man who had attacked a mother at a playground when they saw an individual who fit the description running away. He turned out not to be who they were looking for, but instead the long-sought Jyväskylä suspect.

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