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Saturday, June 07, 2008

Fellow IBA Blogger Sentenced To Prison In Finland

Warning, explicit sexual content contained in this post. If you are under 18, leave this site immediately. If you are over 18, run, don't walk, to see a member of the clergy, and commit yourself to a monastic life.


Fellow IBA blogger, Seppo Lehto, sent me this notice this morning. He hasn't published here much. Just a few times. The thing he is most well known for is this video. (By the way, after I posted this, I realized Seppo had already posted his story at this blog. Click here to see his post.)







Finnish blogger sentenced for two years and 7 months




Notorious hatemonger and self-styled historian Seppo Lehto was sentenced to two years and four months + 3 months
= 2 years 7 months imprisonment in Tampere District Court Thursday 30th of May
2008
. Lehto was charged with nine counts of gross defamation, inciting
ethnic hatred and inciting religious hatred.

Lehto had previosly served
a suspended sentence for defamation and was under probation, which means that
his three month sentence will become mandatory. The total mandatory sentence
will be two years and four months, which is by far the harshest sentence ever
for a "Freedom of Speech crime" in Finnish legal history.

The full verdict can be read in Finnish here.

Outside Finland Lehto is perhaps best known from his
Youtube video
, in which he draws a cartoon of muslim prophet Muhammad. The
video was withdrawn from Youtube but has later been republished there as well as in
other online video sites.

However, in his home country he has become notorious for his
numerous 'filth blogs' containing explicit racist insults illustrated with
manipulated pornographic images and Patrioottiradio podcast radio site, which he
used to hurl racist insults to politicians, civil servants and members of ethnic
and religious minorities.


The filth blogs are located in Blogger meaning that so far it has been very difficult for
Finnish authorities to establish the perpetrator. Lehto has stubbornly denied
his involvement with the blogs and continued to do so during the trial.

Blogger is owned by Google and the servers are located in the United States
leaving Finnish authorities without jurisdiction. Since the content of Lehto's
filth blogs is covered by the First Amendment, the US authorities cannot force
the closure of the blogs.

According to my estimate (I have a list of his blogs) there are dozens of
similar blogs allegedly made by Lehto and his associate who was only given a
suspended sentence as a first time offender.

Some of the blogs are named after people who Lehto either politically
disagrees with or authorities that have come across him during his trials. These
people include leading Finnish politicians like Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen
and President Tarja Halonen. However, neither of them was involved with the
trial as a plaintiff.

Among the plaintiffs there were three Finnish MP's, Oras Tynkkynen
(Green Party), Minna Sirnö (Leftist League) and Leena Rauhala (Leftist League).
The others were police officers involved in previous investigations, a District
Court judge, a local politician with immigrant backround and two District
prosecutors. Each of them was awarded damages ranging from 2000 to 7500 euros.

It is important to note that there were others who had filed complaints
to the police, but state prosecutor Mika Illman chose the nine people to be
included in the case by himself. So it is only natural that he included his
fellow legal professionals among the plaintiffs.

Lehto has been an Finland's number one internet pest for years
and it is very hard to feel sympathy for him based on the content of his
numerous filth blogs.
It is possible that he is the main reason behind
former Minority Ombudsman Mikko Puumalainen's jihad against racism in the
internet and Mika Illman's aggressive prosecution in cases involving the
internet.

Conviction of Lehto is perhaps Illman's biggest coup to date and has
provoked cheers from members of Finnish political elite. Former Foreign Minister
Erkki Tuomioja expressed his satisfaction about the verdict in his website.

What has made some people, including me, suspicious, is the
fact that he managed to include the charge of ethnic and religious hatred in the
trial. Last time anybody was convicted of insulting religious feelings
(blasphemy) in Finland was during the 1960's.


Artist Harro Koskinen's painting Sikamessias (Pig Messiah) was
considered to be blapshemous and the artist was force to pay a fine for the
offence. The successful conviction of Lehto for inciting religious hatred may
lead to prosecution of other bloggers publishing material deemed offensive to
muslims.


As far as I know this was the first time anybody was convicted
for insulting muslim religious feelings in Finland.


Lehto was convicted for displaying rude images
of islamic prophet Muhammad and Allah
having sexual intercourse with a
pig
. The pictures were not
created by Lehto or his associate but they had found them from another website
and included them in their blog.


So far it is not yet clear if Lehto will appeal. The Appeals court will
probably reduce the sentence but Lehto will find it hard to avoid doing jail
time. The length of the sentence is extensive by Finnish standards. Normally,
similar sentences are issued for aggravated rape or manslaughter and the maximum
penalty given for murder is twelve years.

Some updates and clarifications

The length of the sentence can be explained by the fact that Lehto is a
repeat offender and he was convicted of several offences. He was under probation
and his suspended sentence of three months will be added to the two years and
four months sentence received at the trial making the total jail time two years
and seven months.

For inciting religious hatred (or disturbing religious worship may be a
better translation) the maximum penalty is six months. For the other two crimes
(inciting ethnic hatred and 9 counts of gross defamation) the maximum penalty is
two years. I am not a legal expert but I know that according to Finnish law the
sentences are not served up one after the other like in the US.

Somebody more knowledgeable with Finnish law than me may correct if I'm
wrong.

Most priceless quote via (In Finnish)

Police commissioner from Keskusrikospoliisi (Central Criminal Police) Timo
Laine stated:

"The writings should be punishable by law in both countries for us to be
able to request assistance. In the United States this kind of writings could be
regarded as exercise of free speech."

Laine was commenting the reason why Seppo Lehto's blogs could not be
removed from Blogger. State prosecutor Mika Illman said that the plaintiffs
should request 'the operator' (meaning Google) to remove the defamatory blogs
(Helsingin Sanomat).

However, it is fair to say that Lehto's blog posts are defamatory and I
don't blame some of the plaintiffs if they want the filth blogs concerning them
removed. This is a small country and not all of the plaintiffs are well known to
the Finnish public.

As far as I know none of Lehto's filth blogs (that he denies being author
of) have so far been removed from the internet. The verdict is not yet legally
valid pending Lehto's appeal.

Pictures offensive to muslims

I only provided a single link to a blog containing a picture offensive to
muslims. The actual picture I mentioned in the text can be found here
(scroll down to see the picture). The blog was mentioned in the verdict but the
target of the blog, former Minister of Culture Tanja Karpela, was not among the
plaintiffs.



I didn't know about Lehto's "filth blogs", but if you ask me, the idea sounds pretty funny.

I wonder if they include stuff like this. Here's a photo I found interesting. I am told it is of Barack Obama doing sexual favors for Hilary, to insure that she will drop out of the race for President. It doesn't look like her to me, but my source insures me that it is. On the other hand, the guy in the photo does look like Obama to me, because I think all black people look the same (including the women):






(Click photo to enlarge black man's penis.)

By the way, here's a picture of Mohammed having sex with a pig. One ought not be able to post such things.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

some one must get rid of this sort off madness.
Why there always occur such devil idiots like the above mentioned who very well have earn his verdict.

Sunday, March 21, 2010 2:57:00 pm  

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