Aleppo ‘Toy Smuggler’ verdict due today
The Helsinki District Court is set to rule today on the case of Rami Adham, a Finnish-Syrian man who became known as the ‘Toy Smuggler’ for his work raising charity funds for Syria. Prosecutors say Adham is guilty of money laundering and fundraising law violations during the time he served as the chairperson of the Finnish-Syrian Association. He is accused of spending tens of thousands of charity donations for himself, and received a suspended sentence in 2017 for false accounting, tax fraud, drugs offenses, assaults and attempted extortion. Before his downfall, Adham’s actions to take toys for children in Aleppo had been highlighted by the international media and Finnish media outlets as well.
Report: police prepare for Independence Day marches
Police departments in Helsinki and other parts of the country are gearing up for a major policing operation to cope with rival marches on Independence Day, 6th December. A report this morning by Lännen Media says in Helsinki a significant number of extra police have been drafted in for this year, as marches and counter-protests are set to involve thousands of people. Several far right and neo-Nazi groups are planning to march through the capital, with anti-Nazi groups countering them with their own rallies on the day.
Finland starts Council of Europe presidency
Finland has taken over as the president of the Council of Europe for the next six months. According to the Foreign Ministry, the priorities of the Finnish government include strengthening the system of human rights and rule of law in Europe; supporting equality and women’s rights; and openness and inclusion with a focus on young people and preventing radicalisation. The Council of Europe is an intergovernmental organisation, which focuses on the promotion of human rights, democracy and the rule of law. It was founded in 1949 and currently has 47 members.
Wednesday morning weather
It’s a chilly start to Wednesday morning (we’ll be saying this a lot for the next six months!) with temperatures in parts of Lapland down to -10°C at the start of the day. Across the rest of the country expect temperatures around +5°C in inland areas, ‘warming’ to +2°C along the eastern border and -5°C along the Ostrobothnian coast. The temperature is warmest in the far north and in the far south and Åland this morning, starting the day at +1°C.