The Southwestern Finland Police are investigating a large terrorist offence case. Today on Friday 3 December, the Satakunta District Court has remanded, at the request of the police, five men from Satakunta on suspicion of terrorist offences.
The five suspects are about 25 years old and live in the Kankaanpää region. According to the police, they form a group motivated by a radical extreme right-wing ideology, and they are suspected of having planned a terrorist act.
– We have found in their possession terrorist material which, when examined in conjunction with other criminal investigation material, reinforces the impression that they have become radicalised and gives reason to suspect them of terrorist offences, says Head of Investigation, Detective Superintendent Toni Sjöblom of the Southwestern Finland Police.
Terrorism is defined as action that violates national or international law and involves violence or threat of violence and acts designed to induce unrest or fear.
Investigative actions started two years ago
The Southwestern Finland Police started investigative actions in the case as early as in December 2019. At the time, the men concerned were suspected of an aggravated firearms offence, and the police seized a significant number of firearms, cartridges and explosives in their possession during searches of premises.
Since then the group has been under strict surveillance. The police have, for example, screened and analysed material found in the suspects’ IT equipment and examined the importance of this material to the case.
During the criminal investigation, the Southwestern Finland Police have worked in close cooperation with Europol and the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service.
The suspects were apprehended this Tuesday in cooperation between the Southwestern Finland and Helsinki Police Departments and the National Bureau of Investigation. The police also searched their homes on that same day.
At the current stage of the investigation, the main suspected offences comprise:
– an aggravated firearms offence committed with terrorist intent
– an explosives offence committed with terrorist intent
– preparation of an offence to be committed with terrorist intent
– an aggravated theft committed with terrorist intent.
“Early response to radicalisation”
Head of Investigation Sjöblom says that there is no need for people to be scared of extreme right-wing terrorism in Finland, although this case might cause concern.
– However, we should recognise the fact that there are those among us who can cause a danger to our life and health with their ideologically motivated acts and views, Sjöblom continues.
Sjöblom points out that in fact, for this reason, each and everyone of us has an important role to play in maintaining the safety of our communities.
– If those around us show clear signs of radicalisation, we should respond at as an early stage as possible, for example by expressing our concerns to the authorities, he advises.
Violent radicalisation or extremism refers to using or threatening with violence, or encouraging or justifying violence, for ideologically motivated reasons.
The criminal investigation of this large case has been ongoing for a long time now, and new investigation material is gathered following the apprehensions. It is currently estimated that it will take months until the criminal investigation is completed. The time limit for prosecution expires on 31st March 2022.