Finland seeks death penalty waiver for Somali man, YLE

by Yahye | Friday, Nov 14, 2014

Finnish authorities are working to overturn the sentence of a Somali man sentenced to death in Somalia, on the grounds that he is also a permanent resident of Finland. Foreign Ministry Consular Assistance Unit Chief Teemu Turunen says authorities only heard of the case last Friday, and have since contacted the Somali authorities to try and roll back the ruling.

Finnish authorities are seeking to overturn a death penalty handed down against a Somali-born permanent resident of Finland. Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs only heard about the case last Friday from a Finnish NGO active in Somalia.

The Ministry’s Unit for Consular Assistance is charged with helping Finns and foreign-born permanent residents of Finland who find themselves in distress abroad. Turunen says the Unit has been in contact with the Somali administration with regards to the case. He describes the conversation as a step forward.

“Finland takes a very strong stand against the death penalty. We do not accept it under any circumstance. We will do all we can to overturn the sentence,” Turunen says.

Turunen says his first concern was being able to intervene in time before the man’s death sentence was implemented. He has since learned that the case is now in its appeal period.

“Fortunately, we can still have an influence within the framework of the appeal,” he says.

Conflicting information about the man’s crime

In an interview with the public broadcaster Yle, the Foreign Ministry’s Consular Assistance Unit Chief confirmed that the man convicted in Somalia is not a Finnish citizen.

According to the news outlet Mareeg Media, the convicted man killed a university student last month by beheading him in a mosque in Somalia’s capital Mogadishu.

Turunen states the information the Finnish Ministry received about the man’s supposed crimes is contradictory, but wouldn’t reveal anything more about the case or the convicted person.

The story was first reported by Finland’s largest circulation print daily, Helsingin Sanomat.

Sources
Yle, Helsingin Sanomat

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