Finland upgrades preventive measures against "immigrant crimes"

Source: Xinhua| 2019-02-21 04:49:19|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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HELSINKI, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Finnish government has completed an action program to prevent criminality with immigration background.

However, most of the fifty policy changes announced on Wednesday by the Finnish interior ministry will require amendments in legislation and would remain for the government to start after the April election.

Interior Minister Kai Mykkanen singled out "the risk of being deported from Finland" as the most effective preventive factor.

A bill being currently processed in parliament would allow the deportation of a dual national for crimes such as high treason or terrorism, but the intention now is to include more "ordinary" aggravated crimes as well.

Mykkanen said that it is undeniably true that asylum seekers from certain countries are over represented in statistics of sexual crimes. While the punishment will be increased, asylum seekers would be briefed more extensively in reception centers.

The new law would take rejected asylum seekers into custody if the persons are deemed as a danger already after their first rejection. Currently, they can file a legal complaint without losing their personal freedom.

Mykkanen said the number would be "hundreds rather than thousands", and "a wider use (of the prisons) would require more capacity in detention facilities".

The requirements for a permanent residence permit and citizenship would be made stricter. A knowledge test on the basic norms of Finnish society would be required and healthy adults must have a record of several years at work or school.

Mykkanen underlined, however, that Finland continues to adhere to the joint asylum policies of the European Union, but "will try to affect them".

Tarja Mankkinen, head of planning at the Ministry of the Interior, said that Finland aims at punishing those who have committed crimes, but the legal situation is challenging.

"Departing from Finland with terrorist intentions" was not criminalized until in 2016, and most of those who left had gone earlier and the law does not apply retroactively.

"This means terrorist acts while outside Finland should be proven. But it will be difficult to provide evidence that would hold in court", Mankkinen told newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet.

Martin Westerlund, a senior inspector at the Security Police, said though that it is not certain that the Islamic State fighters of Finnish origin would want to return to Finland.

Finnish intelligence information has indicated that 85 Finnish nationals or residence permit holders have left to join the IS, and 20 of them have returned so far and 15-20 are presumed dead.