In Finland, high-ranking politicians from several leading parties have publicly demanded immediate change after the shocking ruling of the High Court of Birkaland’s trial of justice against an Arab pedophile who attacked a 10-year-old girl in October 2016.
By – Brünnhilde
Juusuf Muhammed Abbud, an asylum seeker from Syria (but incorrectly described instead as Finnish in Swedish media), sent the young girl indecent sexual messages and nude images of himself before attacking her in public and raping her outside a high-rise building in October 2016.
The Arab man has managed to escape with just three years imprisonment and a measly sum of €3000 in damages for the gross sexual exploitation of the 10 year old girl. The pedophile, according to his own opinion, was 20 years old at the time of the attack.
During the trial, the prosecutor had demanded that Abbud be sentenced under the charge of rape – which is always considered a gross crime when a child is a victim of crime.
According to the judgment, Birkaland’s district court found that Abbud was well aware of the girl’s low age well-before he sent indecent sexual messages and nude pictures of himself to the young girl. The child had informed police that the asylum seeker forced her into sexual intercourse against her will.
Abbud denied responsibility to all allegations except for sending a sexual message to the girl. Even for this charge, he said that someone else sent naked pictures of him to the child and claimed that he had nothing more to do with the matter.
According to Finnish law, sexual intercourse is classified as rape – even if violence is not present – if one party is found to be in a helpless state or experienced great fear.
While Birkaland’s District Court found that Abbud had indeed engaged in sexual intercourse with the 10-year-old girl, they felt that the child was not “helpless” when the grown-up man attacked her outside a high-rise building and claimed that it was not possible to prove that “what the girl said exactly” to indicate whether or not she was experiencing “great fear”.
Therefore, Abbud was convicted of gross sexual exploitation of a child and received the minimum sentence of just three years in prison. According to the law, the crime allows a maximum punishment of up to 10 years in prison.
The shocking judgment was immediately appealed in the Turku Court of Appeals, where the prosecutor demanded even if the court did not change the sentence to rape, at least to give a stricter penalty for the crime of gross sexual exploitation. The Turku Court of Appeal, however, was in the same opinion as the District Court and held the appallingly mild verdict for the asylum seeker.
When the news became public, a public uproar of strong disgust and discontent was felt among Finnish people and legal experts throughout the country.
The judgment was further appealed to the Supreme Court, which recently expelled the appeal and ruled the Court of First Instance’s judgment without bothering to revisit the issue.
The decision of the court provoked strong reactions by Finnish politicians in several leading parties. Shortly after HD’s decision, chairman of the parliamentary committee, chief commissioner Kari Tolvanen (Saml) told the newspaper Iltalehti that the law “urgently” had to be changed.
Even before the Supreme Court’s decision, Antti Häkkänen (Saml), the country’s justice minister, in March demanded that the punishment for sexual offenses against children be increased and the Ministry of Justice has proposed that the maximum penalty for sexual exploitation (not gross) of children should be increased from 4 to 6 years.
The ruling party leader Jussi Hala-Aho criticized the courts for not using the higher sentence of up to 10 years in prison, which the law provides for in cases of serious sexual exploitation of children.
On the occasion of the verdict, Social Democrats parliamentary member Johanna Ojala-Niemelä has filed a motion for a child’s “spiritual detachment” to be a reason for a rape victim to be considered helpless.
The Swedish People’s Party Mats Löfström spoke to the New Åland newspaper last Monday to criticize the verdict.
“If the situation involves a child, then it should be obvious that a child is almost always helpless against an adult,” Löfström says to the newspaper, calling for the law to change.
Löfström refers to the change of law that was implemented in Sweden in 2005, which meant that sexual intercourse with children under the age of 15 should always be classified as rape.
“Children must be allowed to be children and must be protected. The law must give them the legal protection they obviously now lack,” concludes Löfström.
Among the members of the Algerian elected representatives, the Social Democrats leader Igge Holmberg has demanded that the judges’ council be replaced, as Holmberg claims, among others, they have a “blame the victim” mentality.