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Finnish Court Frowned on Swedish 'Tack' in Rape Case
Appellate court rejected request to issue international arrest warrant.
KOUVOLA (Rixstep) — The appellate court in Kouvola Finland postponed the hearing of a rape case as it's not been possible to summon the suspect from abroad. The court further ruled that issuance of an arrest in absentia and subsequently an International Arrest Warrant would be unreasonable as the suspect might spend considerable time incarcerated. Marianne Ny and Sweden: take note.
The case started a year ago when an Ethiopian university graduate student met a girl on the train from Helsinki to Joensuu. The girl says the man forcibly pulled her from the corridor into the toilet and raped her there. The man claimed he and the girl voluntarily entered the toilet, touched each other's genitals - but the man had a premature ejaculation and the planned tryst had to be aborted.
The case was dismissed last April by the south Karelia district court. The court ruled that the suspect cannot be convicted based on the woman's story alone without other evidence. The events on the train weren't witnessed by any outsider and no signs of violence were found on the woman in a medical examination.
But the man spent two months behind bars waiting for the trial which led to him losing his job at the university; he's believed to have since left Finland and returned home to Ethiopia.
'The last time he rang was in the spring', says the suspect's solicitor Markku Laaio. 'He said was on holiday back home. I haven't heard from him since.'
Finnish prosecutor Markku O Ahonen, who fancies similarities with the Assange case in Sweden, appealed the decision of the district court to the appellate court in Kouvola. The appellate court hearing last autumn had to be canceled as it wasn't possible to contact the suspect and summon him to Finland.
Ahonen wanted to issue an International Arrest Warrant as Marianne Ny but the appellate court rejected the request in February on the grounds the action would have meant an unreasonable situation for the suspect who's already been cleared once.
Ahonen could have issued a IAW if the suspect had been arrested in absentia but the appellate court said 'no'.
The suspect is presumed to not be aware of the situation.
A tentative date has been set for 3 May but this is contingent on Ahonen being able to reach the suspect by then.
If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade. If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point.
- Björn Hurtig
I can tell you that the Swedish prosecution still hasn't provided copies of those SMS texts that have been referred to. Those texts are some of the most powerful exculpatory evidence. In Australia prosecutors have a very grave duty to disclose such evidence to courts when seeking the grave exercise of a court's power against an individual. Yet in Sweden in this case, in the first hearings to obtain an arrest warrant, those texts were not submitted to the Swedish court, which is highly improper.
- James Catlin
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