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Turku stabbing hero charged with fraud: Prosecutor demands suspended sentence

The man who became known as a hero three summers ago is facing fraud and other serious charges.

Hassan Zubier.
Hassan Zubier (2018 file photo) Image: Lydia Taylerson / Yle News

The criminal trial against Hassan Zubier, a British citizen whose spinal cord was severed in the Turku knife attack which shocked the nation nearly three years ago, began at Southwestern Finland District Court on Tuesday.

Zubier was severely injured when he attempted to save the life of one of the stabbing victims at Turku Market Square on 18 August, 2017, and quickly became known as the tourist who became a hero overnight.

Prosecutors accused Zubier, who resides in Sweden, of lying about his income during the perpetrator's terrorism trial, when he gave the court a forged employment document that stated he had lost income from a Swedish ambulance company as a result of the attack.

Zubier is also accused by prosecutors of aggravated fraud for misleading the district court when he submitted the forged document. It was discovered that he had not actually worked for the ambulance firm.

In its decision on compensating Zubier for the loss of employment income due to his injuries, the court awarded him a disability pension totalling just under 1,000 euros per month until he turned 65 years of age, or for about 20 years.

Fundraising accusations denied

Last year Zubier admitted that he'd forged documents in his benefits application to the Finnish state.

Prosecutors have now demanded a suspended prison term for the charges, which Zubier said are accurate and he has agreed to the sentence terms.

However, Zubier and another female defendant are also facing charges related to illegal fundraising activities.

A GoFundMe campaign was set up for Zubier in December 2017. The effort raised tens of thousands of euros, but officials stepped in to stop it as the organiser had not acquired the necessary permit to run a money collection campaign in Finland.

Regarding those charges, the prosecution has demanded that the defendants pay the state nearly 27,000 euros, a sum it claims were the proceeds of the fundraising crime.

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