HELSINKI, JAN 15 — The Finnish public opinions in reaction to alleged sexual crimes by immigrants has resulted in a civic initiative calling for fast expulsion without a right of appeal.
The civic bill attained 50,000 signatures over the weekend and would thus be eligible for a parliamentary process. The demands in the initiative have alarmed judicial experts as under Finnish law all criminals are eligible for a trial in a court.
Expulsion or cancelation of a residence permit are administrative decisions and the current laws require that they can be submitted to an investigation by a court.
Sakari Melander, professor of criminal law at Helsinki University, noted to newspaper Helsingin Sanomat that no one can be expelled on “an alleged crime”, but the decision of a court must be awaited. In line with the “presumption of innocence”, all suspects must be regarded as innocent until being guilty is legally proven.
Melander pointed out that the current immigration law makes it possible to expel if a criminal verdict exceeds a year. An expulsion is possible also if a residence permit holder repeats his offence or poses risk to national security. However, expulsion or extraditing is not possible if the person is under the threat of “a death penalty, torture or some other measure violating his or her human dignity”.
While on a state visit to China, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on Monday commented on the development of the civic opinion on dealing with foreigners committing crimes. “International agreements prohibit strong societal reactions”, he said in Beijing to Finnish reporters.
The civic initiative on fast expulsion was launched in December 2018, after the first news about a series of sex crimes on minors in Oulu, northern Finland broke out. – XINHUA