Finnish prosecutors revealed that the Finnish Foreign Ministry and the US State Department fund KavkazCenter, a Chechen extremist website, during a probe into the activities of the site’s owner, Mikael Storsjö. Recently, a court in Helsinki handed down a four-month suspended sentence to Storsjo for aiding Chechen terrorists to enter Finland illegally. Last year, the cops arrested Storsjö on charges of assisting illegal immigrants. Later, the court acquitted him, as it claimed that this was an act of humanity, as he was helping migrants who were at risk in Russia. Moreover, Storsjö accepted no money for his assistance. This year, prosecutors managed to prove that he aided more than 20 people to flee Russia. They included relatives of Chechen warlords Shamil Basayev, Doku Umarov, and a certain Matsiyev, who was allegedly involved in the Beslan school siege.
According to Finnish political analyst Erkki Johan Bäckman, the Finnish Foreign Ministry and the US State Department sponsored the site, saying, “Finland’s supporting and funding terrorist underground networks, the course of the Storsjö investigation exposed that. We analysed all the relevant documents; we saw who these migrants really were. With tacit backing from Minister for International Development Heidi Anneli Hautala, Storsjo illegally brought hundreds of people, some them criminals, to Finland. His website is more than just a web page… it’s the mouthpiece of terrorist leader Doku Umarov”.
Moscow needs to provide evidence of the crimes it believes these alleged terrorists have committed to be able to extradite them, and if it wants tougher punishment for Storsjö. Finland keeps declining Moscow’s extradition requests. Aleksandr Mikhailov, a member of the Council for External and Defence Policy, said, “This particular case echoes England’s refusals to extradite Ahmed Zakayev and Boris Berezovsky to Russia. Finland’s acting in line with its national laws, and can only press charges if it has evidence of these people’s wrongdoings. The mere fact that they’re living in their country and conducting public and cultural activities isn’t a reason to bring charges against them. There’s nothing Russia can do about that”. Lithuania shut down the KavkazCenter website at Russia’s request, and many other countries named it an illegal site, including Finland, which, however, hasn’t stopped a Finnish businessman from sponsoring it.
17 June 2012
Voice of Russia World Service