The neo-Nazi movement Nordic Resistance (PVL) is finally outlawed in Finland.
The Finnish Supreme Court has upheld on appeal decisions by two lower courts to ban the far-right group and two of its subgroups after a long judicial process marked by subsequent appeals that began in 2017 after a request of the National Police Board.
The Court of Appeals of the city of Turku had ruled that the racist movement should be shut down for the benefit of the entire society due to its violent actions and constant hate speech against immigrants, Jews and sexual minorities. The group, for its part, always denied the accusations and claimed to operate within the limits of freedom of expression.
Now, the Finnish Supreme Court considers that PVL's activities violated fundamental and human rights protected by the Finnish Constitution and the international human rights treaties.
"PVL's goal is to create a state similar to the National Socialist Germany, a society in which a certain ethnic group is raised above the others," the court explains.
The Finnish top court also ruled that the group was not protected by free speech or freedom of association since its activities abused these rights.
In 2019, the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo) also warned about the movement's activities in its National Security Review.
After the Supreme Court's decision was made public, Supo wrote on Twitter that they provided expert assistance in the legal proceedings related to the operation of the group. "We will continue to monitor the development of extremism," the Intelligence service said.
Demokratian puolustaminen on aina ajankohtaista. On tärkeää, että yhteiskunta suojelee itseään väkivaltaisilta ääriliikkeiltä.#PVL:n toiminta loukkasi tai pyrki loukkaamaan perus- ja ihmisoikeuksia. Korkein oikeus päätti lakkauttaa järjestön.https://t.co/FLCU63BVca— Maria Ohisalo (@MariaOhisalo) September 22, 2020
Nordic Resistance, which operates with a militia structure, has been very active in organizing events and demonstrations that included the display of far-right paraphernalia against immigrants. Several of its members have been convicted of violent altercations.
In 2016, a member of the group, Jesse Torniainen, was convicted of the death of a man who was beaten outside Helsinki Central Station in connection with an anti-racist protest. The 28-year-old victim was kicked in the chest and died due to a head injury after hitting the pavement. The assailant was sentenced to two years in prison.
After knowing the court's decision, the Minister of the Interior, Maria Ohisalo, wrote on Twitter that "it is important that society protects itself from violent extremism."
"PVL violated or sought to violate fundamental and human rights. The Supreme Court decided to dissolve the organization," she celebrated.
The Nordic Resistance Movement has its roots in Sweden and has militants also in Denmark and Norway.