A followup to yesterday’s report: I just got a note from Vasarahammer, with his summary of Mikko Ellilä’s situation. Mr. Ellilä is a Finnish writer and blogger who has been summoned by the police for a hearing under Finland’s “incitement against groups” law.
Several commenters have expressed the opinion that this whole business is likely to amount to nothing, and that Mr. Ellilä’s case will be dismissed when he goes in for his hearing on Monday.
But we’re not going to take that for granted. A little international pressure will help concentrate the mind of the Finnish government and make it realize its mistake in harassing Mikko Ellilä.
I suggest a two-pronged plan:
|1.||If you are a blogger, publicize this on your blog. If you are Finnish, and have additional information on Mikko Ellilä, send it in to us or to other blogs to add to the publicity. In particular, a photo would help — I couldn’t find one.|
|2.||Contact the Finnish authorities. For our American readers, the Finnish embassy has a handy US map with state-by-state contact information here.|
Here’s the main contact info for their embassy in Washington:
Embassy of Finland
3301 Massachusetts Avenue N.W.
Washington D.C. 20008
Tel. +1-202-298 5800
Fax: +1-202-298 6030
Don’t be shy: remind the Finnish authorities how highly-regarded free speech is in their country. It seems that they may have forgotten that.
Here are the details on the case as sent by Vasarahammer:
Dear Baron,- - - - - - - - - -
A little bit of background information related to Mikko Ellilä’s case.
Finnish penal code contains a law that criminalizes incitement against a group of people. Here’s an inadequate translation of that law (Criminal code section 11 paragraph 8)
Whoever publicly distributes statements or other information that threatens or abuses some national, racial, ethnic or religious group or group of people that can be regarded as such, shall be sentenced for incitement against a group of people to pay a fine or imprisoned with maximum penalty of two years.
The law is very vague and leaves a lot of room for creative interpretation. Basically you can say that it is illegal in Finland to state your honest opinion about Islam in public. There are similar laws in other Nordic countries and I suspect that this law has been almost directly copied from Swedish penal code.
When the organization called Suomen Sisu published the Mohammad cartoons on their website, a police investigation was conducted based on the above-mentioned law. However, the case never went to court, since the public prosecutor decided against pursuing the case.
Here is the account of one person who saw what happened in the Suomen Sisu case.
It is in Finnish, so I will translate the most important parts.I followed from a close distance the Mohammad cartoon furore in Finland. We tried to contact various organizations that advocate freedom of speech, various institutions, newspapers and other media. The reply was a deafening silence. I first thought that this was due to the reputation of Suomen Sisu, but after the Kaltio scandal broke, the silence of the media in defending the rights of Suomen Sisu could no longer be explained by anything else than fear.
Based on those experiences I am completely sure that if the case had went to court and the Finnish publishers of the cartoons had been prosecuted, the media would have accepted this without questioning the merits of the case.
The Kaltio case was about a small cultural newspaper that published a cartoon strip drawn by Ville Ranta. The comic strip featured a masked figure of prophet Muhammad and it criticized the gutless behaviour of Finnish leading politicians during the cartoon controversy. The editor of Kaltio was fired after several advertisers withdrew their ads from the paper. The mainstream media did not regard this as an important freedom of speech issue.
Mikko Ellilä is not a politically correct writer. He is however very brave in writing under his own name and not using a pseudonym. This also makes him an easy target for the authorities. Now you should understand why Fjordman uses a pseudonym.
Recently, Government Minority Ombudsman Mikko Puumalainen threatened that Government would crack down against internet sites considered as racist. I suspect that Mikko Ellilä’s questioning by the police has something to do with Puumalainen’s statement, though it cannot be verified at this stage. By making the issue public you are helping Mikko and maybe in some way help Finland get rid of that restrictive law.