Court rules raid on Helsingin Sanomat journalist’s home was legal

Police seized 19 items linked to the journalist's work, including computers, phones, note books and USB memory sticks.

File photo of judge holding documents / Credit: iStock

The Court of Appeal in Helsinki says that police acted lawfully when they raided the home of a journalist last December.

Helsingin Sanomat reporter Laura Halminen‘s home searched by officers in connection with a story she had published, which contained decade-old classified material about Finland’s intelligence capabilities.

Authorities confiscated 19 items including computers, phone, notebooks and USB memory sticks during the raid.

Halminen claimed police search was illegal because they had no warrant to authorise it. She said the police’s actions threatened the protection of her confidential source on the story.

At the time, Halminen’s journalism triggered a heated debate from Finland’s political and military classes about the sensitivities of media outlets reporting on any sort of intelligence gathering capabilities, especially when the implication is that they’re targeted against Russia.

Earlier this year the District Court ruled that police had the right to conduct the search, and rejected Halminen’s request to get back the things that were confiscated. Today’s Appeal Court decision backs up the earlier ruling.

Now, Halminen’s lawyer says he is considering an appeal to the Finnish Supreme Court over the latest ruling.