Turku stabber denies "terrorist intent" as appeal court process begins

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-12 01:48:19|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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HELSINKI, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- The defence of Moroccan Abderrahman Bouanane objected the definition of his attacks in August 2017 in Turku, western Finland as terrorism.

The Turku court of appeals on Friday began processing his appeal. A lower court in Turku gave him a life sentence last year for killing two and injuring eight people "with a terrorist intent".

A deletion of the terrorist intent would not change the sentence. However, Bouanane's defence lawyer told newspaper Turun Sanomat that it could have a bearing on how soon Bouanane could get out of the prison.

In Finland, life time convicts can get out after 12 years, or alternatively with a presidential pardon. But a terrorism reference in the sentence could delay the release, local media reported.

Prosecutor Sampsa Hakala adhered to the terrorist intent though. "He regarded himself as a soldier of ISIS when committing his actions, and we have proof that his motivation was terrorism," he said to Turun Sanomat.

Bouanane was expected to participate in the session through a videolink in the Turku prison, but his lawyer said on Friday he would not appear during the whole process.

The court will arrange a four-day trial in the prison in February. Turun Sanomat noted that the court could demand that Bouanane is available for questioning by the court.

The Turku case has been the first in Finland where terrorist intent was used as a basis for sentencing. Hakala said that it has some nature of a precedent and thus the processing at appeals court level is in the interest of prosecution as well.