15 June 2012, 20:19

Is Finland harbouring Chechen 'extremists'?

Is Finland harbouring Chechen 'extremists'?

KavkazCenter, a Chechen extremist website has been funded by Finland’s Foreign Ministry and the US State Department, Finnish prosecutors revealed during a probe into the activities of the site’s owner Mikael Storsjo. Recently, a court in Helsinki handed down a four-month suspended sentence to Storsjo for assisting Chechen terrorists to enter Finland illegally.

KavkazCenter, a Chechen extremist website has been funded by Finland’s Foreign Ministry and the US State Department, Finnish prosecutors revealed during a probe into the activities of the site’s owner Mikael Storsjo. Recently, a court in Helsinki handed down a four-month suspended sentence to Storsjo for assisting Chechen terrorists to enter Finland illegally.

The owner and sponsor of the site was first arrested and jailed last year on charges of assisting illegal immigrants. later, he was acquitted as the court claimed that this was an act of humanity as he was helping migrants who were at risk in Russia. Moreover, Storsjo accepted no money for his assistance. This year, prosecutors managed to prove that he assisted more than 20 people to flee Russia. They included relatives of Chechen warlords Shamil Basayev, Doku Umarov and a certain Matsiyev who was allegedly involved in the Beslan school siege.

According to Finnish political analyst Johan Beckman, the site was sponsored by Finland’s Foreign Ministry and the US State Department.

"Finland is supporting and funding terrorist underground networks, has been was exposed in the course of the Storsjo investigation. We analyzed all the relevant documents and saw who these migrants really were. With tacit backing of Minister for International Development Heidi Hautala, Storsjo has illegally brought hundreds of people, some of whom are criminals, to Finland His website is more than just a web page it is the mouthpiece of terrorist leader Doku Umarov".

Moscow needs to provide evidence of the crimes it believes these alleged terrorists have committed to be able to extradite them and if it wants a tougher punishment for Storsjo.

Finland keeps declining Moscow’s extradition requests. This particular case echoes England’s refusals to extradite Ahmed Zakayev and Boris Berezovsky to Russia, says Alexander Mikhailov a member of the Council for External and Defense Policy

"Finland is acting in line with its national laws and can only press charges if it has evidence of these people’s wrongdoings. The mere fact that they are living in their country and conducting public and cultural activities is not the reason to bring charges against them. There is nothing Russia can do about this".

The KavkazCenter site has been shut down in Lithuania at Russia’s request and deemed illegal in many other countries, including Finland, which, however, hasn’t stopped its businessman from sponsoring it.

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