Crosshairs: Accused man apologises in court for online harassment of interior minister

Helsinki District Court heard that the 30-year old had posted a picture of Maria Ohisalo on Instagram with a crosshairs over her head, saying he was going to hunt her.

File picture, exterior of Helsinki District Court / Credit: News Now Finland

A 30-year old man has apologised in court on Tuesday, for online posts he made about Interior Minister Maria Ohisalo (Green).

The comments came on the first day of his trial at Helsinki District Court, in a case that saw the minister participate via video link.

The court heard that the man, born in 1991, published an image on Instagram with a crosshairs over Ohisalo’s head saying he was going to hunt her; he threatened to bomb the Ministry of Interior building; and also threatened to carry out an attack on Pasila police station, as part of his long-standing resentment against the police.

His lawyers say the social media posts don’t meet the threshold of an illegal threat and that the accused man should just be fined.

Prosecutors however say that Minister Ohisalo had good reason to fear for her personal safety because of the messages, several of which described acts of violence in detail, and that he should be sentenced to six months suspended prison sentence.

A verdict in the case is due on 1st December, and the accused man has been released from custody pending the outcome.