Man acquitted after online parliament threats

A man who wrote online about wanting to blow up parliament and shoot the Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen has been acquitted by a court in Helsinki. The post, in which the defendant also talked about the possibility of shooting Finance Minister Jyrki Katainen, appeared on the FKB discussion forum last year.

The man, who claimed he was acting out of frustration due to the financial bailout of Greece, said he only expected his rant to be read by his acquaintances and did not intend it as a genuine threat. Charges were however brought by deputy prosecutor-general Jorma Kalske in the name of “important public interest”, despite both Katainen and Vanhanen declining to take part in the trial.

Kalske called for a suspended sentence for public incitement to commit a crime and making an illegal threat. The case was however thrown out when the court failed to find any evidence of intentional malice or that anyone mentioned felt in serious danger.

After the trial, supreme police commander Mikko Paatero said he was concerned that the verdict could lead to an increase in online threats. He added that there could be a call for new legislation to address the problem.

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