Oulu child sexual exploitation scandal

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In December 2018, it transpired that adult men, most of whom were migrants, were grooming,[1] and raping and otherwise sexually abusing, girls under 15 years of age in Oulu, Finland. One victim ended up committing suicide. Police warned young girls and parents, while emphasizing that "not all people with foreign backgrounds are dishonest or criminals."[2] By mid-January 2019, the suspects numbered 16. The case was said to have "rocked" Finland,[3] where cabinet members broke the otherwise normal Finnish taboo about commenting about ongoing criminal investigations.[4]

Crimes[edit]

The initial police report, on 1 December, was about a gang of seven foreign men who had been grooming a girl.[5] The girl was confirmed to be Finnish and a minor, aged 10, who was raped for months.[6][7] As there had been two other arrests for rape just a few days before, Criminal Commissioner Markus Kiiskinen of the Oulu Police reassured the public that "there is no phenomenon of sexual offenses in which foreigners go rape in the streets. These just happened at the same time."[8]

By 6 December, Oulu police had ten men under arrest for sex and violent crimes. The victims were now three girls, all under 15 years of age.[9] All suspects had arrived in Finland as asylum claimants or refugees.[10]

By 11 January 2019, police disclosed one of the rape victims had committed suicide months earlier. The number of victims had risen to nine. The number of men in police custody was now twelve. All suspects were foreigners.[11] Anthropologist Edward Dutton described in his 2019 book The Silent Rape Epidemic that police had kept the victim suicide under wraps until concerned local residents, communicating via social media, made that position untenable.[12]

By 16 January the suspects numbered 16, and remained all-foreign born. Police disclosed that at least one the girls was drugged before being raped. The crimes were said to have taken place in the summer and fall 2018.[13]

On 11 February it was reported that police have started to investigate new suspected rapes of two underage girls that had occurred a few days earlier at a private home. One of the girls is under 16 and the other under 18. One suspect is in custody. The suspect has a foreign background and a Finnish residence permit.[14] On 13 January police informed that they are investigating another suspected aggravated rape and aggravated sexual abuse of a child. The victim is a 14-year-old girl, and the rape took place in a private apartment in January.[15]

By late February, the police had expanded its investigation and reporting to include not just grooming cases in Oulu, but also "milder acts, such as assaults." There were now 29 suspects, of whom about 20 were "men of foreign background."[16] In 2020, following an unsuccessful appeal initiated by eight of the foreign convicts, it was revealed that they had a common 12-13 year-old victim, whom they had gotten to know and kept in touch "mostly through various social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp." The girl was victimized by the eight, but independently from each other. She will have her identity sealed for 60 years.[17]

Escape[edit]

One of the grooming gang suspects escaped to Germany and may have gone to France. He was arrested in Germany in 2018, but was let go.[18] The suspect is 25 or 26 years old, and is said to have raped a 13-year-old over a long period.[19][20] An Iraqi national, he was again captured in Saarbrücken in 2019 while on a high-speed train from Paris to Mannheim,[21] but it was said it could take up to four weeks to extradite him to Finland.[22]

Verdicts[edit]

Muso Asoev, born in 1975 in Tajikistan, was sentenced to three years and eight months' prison, plus compensation of 10,500 to the victim, for sexual abuse and digital penetration of a 10-year old girl inside a mosque between 7 July and 7 October 2018.[23]

Abdullhadi Barhum, age 22 in 2019, was sentenced to two-and-half year's prison, plus compensation of €3,700 to the victim, for child sexual abuse and rape of a 14-year old girl who reached out on a popular social media for someone to buy her cigarettes, which he did, before forcing her to have oral sex.[24][failed verification]

Abdul Aziz Nayef Dbeisan Al-Bodour, aged 23 in 2019, was sentenced to 38 month's prison, plus compensation of €7,300 to the victim, for rape and gross sexual abuse of a child.[25][failed verification]

On 4 July 2019, Baraa Ahmed Saeed Al Dawayma (born 1999) was sentenced to three years and eight months' prison, for aggravated sexual abuse of a child and aggravated rape. The victim was 12 years old, and the crimes took place in July 2018.[26]

On 12 July 2019, Oulu District Court [fi] gave the last sentences concerning the cases involving eight foreign-born men who abused the same female victim who was 12–13 years old during the crimes.[27] The outcome was:

Convict Birth year Country of origin Date of conviction Sentence Crime(s) Victim's age during crime(s) Date(s) of crime(s)
Rahmani Gheibali 1998 Afghanistan[28] 9 May 2019 4 years Aggravated sexual abuse of a child,
aggravated rape
13 April – September 2018
Shiraqa Yosefi 1998 14 May 2019 2 years Aggravated sexual abuse of a child 13 15 September – 27 October 2018
Osman Ahmed Mohamed Humad 1995 5 June 2019 3 years Aggravated sexual abuse of a child,
persuading a child for sexual purposes
13 June – October 2018
Javad Mirzad 1990 Afghanistan[29] 7 June 2019 3 years and 4 months Aggravated sexual abuse of a child 13 August 2018
Ali Osman Mohamed 1993 20 June 2019 4 years Aggravated rape,
aggravated sexual abuse of a child,
persuading a child for sexual purposes
13 Summer and autumn 2018
Hassan Mohamud Mohamed 1980 9 July 2019 4 years and 6 months Aggravated rape,
aggravated sexual abuse of a child
12–13 2017–2018
Qayssar Mohsin Sbahi Aldhulaiei 1993 Iraq[30] 12 July 2019 4 years Aggravated rape,
aggravated sexual abuse of a child,
assault
13 June – October 2018
Abdo Ibrahim Ahmed 1985 12 July 2019 4 years and 2 months Aggravated rape,
aggravated sexual abuse of a child,
possession of child pornography
4 August 2017 – 18 August 2018
Sources:[27][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38][39][40]

Reactions[edit]

In early December 2018, Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipilä said, "The guilty parties will be punished regardless of their ethnicity in a state of law."[41] In mid-January 2019, Sipilä issued a formal statement, saying "The government has changed the law since the beginning of the year, making it easier to expel foreigners who have committed crimes."[42]

In December, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said "Finland must muster strength to fight this 'evil'".[43] In January, when new cases were revealed, he issued a formal statement on the presidential website: "It is unacceptable that some asylum seekers and even those who have been granted asylum have brought evil here and created insecurity here."[44]

Minister of the Interior Kai Mykkänen called for harsher sentencing and for immigrants and asylum seekers who commit sexual assault to be deported or have their citizenship revoked.[45]

Paula Risikko, Speaker of the Parliament, said "We’ll deliver punishments for these kinds of crimes and, if necessary, send you back to your home country.”[46]

Antti Kaikkonen, head of the Centre Party in Parliament, declared "everyone who comes to Finland has to follow the local laws."[47]

Politics and law[edit]

Reuters reported that the case had become "an important political issue" in Finnish politics.[48] Xinhua News Agency reported the alleged raping by eight men of foreign descent had increased populist support in Finland.[49]

As a response to the sex crimes revelations, three fast-track legislative projects were introduced in Parliament in January: one to increase penalties for child sexual abuse; one to enhance the Police's ability to "process" people's personal data; and one to take away Finnish citizenship from naturalized aliens who commit certain crimes. Antti Lindtman, chairman of the Social Democratic Parliamentary Group, underscored the uniqueness of having all parliamentary groups support the initiatives.[50]

In January 2019, the city of Oulu banned foreign asylum seekers from visiting any schools and daycare centers.[51]

In February 2019, using the December discovery of sexual offences against minors as justification, Oulu requested a €2.3 million government grant for, among others, educate parents how to prevent sexual offenses by both Finns and foreigners.[52]

In April 2019, French newspaper Le Figaro attributed the Finns Party success[53] in that month's Finnish elections to the immigrant sexual exploitation scandal,[54] as did Italian newspaper La Repubblica which reported "arrests of non-EU citizens accused and suspected of sexual abuse or rape had alarmed no small part of public opinion."[55]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Finnish President Calls Growing Migrant Grooming Gang Scandal 'Unbearable'". Sputnik. 14 January 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2019. The migrant grooming gang scandal that shook Finland in late 2018 appears to have escalated, earning stern condemnation from Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Juha Sipilä and triggering renewed calls to strip dual citizen sex criminals of Finnish citizenship.
  2. ^ "Police warn of online predators as suspected sex abuse cases uncovered in Oulu". Yle - Yleisradio Oy. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019. the warning mostly applies to one group of online predators and hopefully will not tarnish the reputation of all migrants, police added. "I hope this will not result in more racism. The police would like to emphasise that not all people with foreign backgrounds are dishonest or criminals," Kiiskinen said.
  3. ^ "Finnish prime minister uses New Year's Message to condemn hate speech". Helsinki Times. Uusi Suomi. 31 December 2018. Retrieved 2 May 2020. Finland was rocked by the revelations earlier this month that 10 people of foreign backgrounds had been arrested for rape and sexual assault of several underage girls in Oulu
  4. ^ "Alleged sex crimes by foreigners shock Finland". Xinhua News Agency. 6 December 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019. Comments by cabinet members about ongoing criminal investigations are rare in Finland.
  5. ^ Petri Turunen (1 December 2018). "New Information on Sexual Crimes against a Child in Oulu: 7 men knew each other". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 31 January 2019. On Saturday afternoon, the police released a bulletin, the contents of which shocked many Finns..
  6. ^ SANNI MATTILA (3 December 2018). "7 men imprisoned for serious sexual offenses against a minor in Oulu - police believe the number of suspects will increase". Iltalehti (in Finnish). Retrieved 31 January 2019. [...] Kiiskinen, who is currently the investigating director. According to him, the girl is "clearly underage" and Finnish.
  7. ^ VILLE EKLUND (3 December 2018). "A little girl 10 years old was raped in Oulu - there are a number of suspects and implicated". MTV Oy - mtv uutiset (in Finnish). Retrieved 31 January 2019. MTV News can report that the victim of a grave rape and abuse case in Oulu was a little over 10-years-old Finnish girl. The girl is suspected of being the victim of severe rape and sexual abuse for months.
  8. ^ Mirja Rintala (3 December 2018). "Several sexual crimes have occurred in Oulu - the police are now soothing the rumor mill". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 31 January 2019. Criminal Commissioner Markus Kiiskinen of the Oulu Police says that sex offenses are not related. At the same time, he asks for calm in the heated social media debate. "There is no phenomenon of sexual offenses in which foreigners go rape in the streets. These just happened at the same time."
  9. ^ Aleksi Teivainen (6 December 2018). "Police: 10 people suspected of sex crimes against minors in Oulu". Helsinki Times. Retrieved 31 January 2019. The Oulu Police Department on Wednesday revealed that a total of 10 people of foreign background have been brought into custody in connection with sex and violent crimes against three under 15-year-old girls in Oulu
  10. ^ "The police clears up the information about three sexual offenses committed against minors in Oulu". Poliisi (in Finnish). National police of Finland. 5 December 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019. All the suspects have entered the country as asylum seekers or quota refugees
  11. ^ "Oulu police confirm new sex abuse arrests, and the death of one girl". News Now Finland. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2019. Officers say they’ve arrested foreign-born men in connection with the allegations – two aged 20, two under 18 – as the new investigation looks at allegations of rape, gross sexual abuse of a child and sexual abuse of a child said to have taken place during summer 2018.
  12. ^ "British anthropologist on Oulu rape epidemic: Finns 'groomed' to love their abusers". Suomen Uutiset (in Finnish). 16 September 2019. Retrieved 7 October 2019. The police even first tried to deny that one of the rape victims committed suicide. Eventually, the pressure on social media became so great that the police and the mainstream media were forced to disclose the events. In particular, Dutton emphasizes the role of citizen journalist Junes Loka in exposing events.
  13. ^ "Sex crime probes advance in Helsinki, Oulu". Yle Uutiset. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  14. ^ "Two new suspected cases of child sexual abuse in Oulu". Yle. 12 February 2019. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  15. ^ "Yet another suspected sexual abuse case in Oulu". Yle. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  16. ^ SUSANNA KEMPPAINEN (21 February 2019). "Nuorin Oulussa viime kuukausina paljastuneiden törkeiden seksuaalirikosten uhri vain muutaman vuoden ikäinen – Poliisi: Kyse on perheen sisäisistä teoista". Kaleva (in Finnish). Retrieved 23 February 2019. 29 people are suspected of having committed gross sexual abuse or gross rape or both. Some are also suspected of milder acts, such as assaults. [...] About one third of 29 suspects are Finns. The rest, or two-thirds, are men of foreign background.
  17. ^ SUSANNA KEMPPAINEN (31 March 2020). "Recent court convictions for sexual offenses in Oulu - The convicts claimed that the victim had misled the men, damages totaling more than 130,000 euros". Kaleva (in Finnish). Retrieved 2 May 2020. The men had gotten to know the child and kept in touch with her mostly through various social media apps like Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.
  18. ^ "German Police Mistakenly Let Go Suspected Finnish Grooming Gang Member - Reports". Sputnik (news agency). 19 December 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019. A suspect tied to a grooming gang that terrorised a Finnish town has been released before he could be moved from Germany to Finland for investigation.
  19. ^ "Tysk polis frigav misstänkt sexualbrottsling - på grund av kommunikationsmiss". svenska.yle.fi. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  20. ^ "RAPE IN FINLAND - Suspect detained in Germany". Die Welt (in German). DPA / TBA. 3 January 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2019. A 26-year-old was arrested in Saarbrücken for abusive acts in Finland. He is said to have raped a 13-year-old over a long period.
  21. ^ "Missbrauch in Finnland – Verdächtiger in Deutschland festgenommen". Neue Zürcher Zeitung (in German). 3 January 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019. The 26-year-old Iraqi had been searched for a European arrest warrant and had been arrested in the Intercity-Express from Paris to Mannheim because of missing entry documents. He is accused of raping a 13-year-old in Oulu in several cases over a long period of time.
  22. ^ "Oulu sex crime suspect to be extradited to Finland from Germany in coming weeks". www.helsinkitimes.fi. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  23. ^ "The crime that led to the abuse in Oulu took place in the mosque - Imam: "We have not seen any evidence"". Kaleva (in Finnish). 20 March 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  24. ^ Ranta, Niko (26 March 2019). "Oulu Sex Crime: Man rapes 14-year-old girl - 2.5 years imprisonment". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  25. ^ Mari Jäntti (17 April 2019). "Judgment on one of the Oulu sexual offenses: 23-year-old man sentenced to three years in prison". Yle (in Finnish). Retrieved 22 April 2019. Oulun käräjäoikeus on tuominnut 23-vuotiaan Abdul Aziz Nayef Dbeisan Al-Bodourin törkeästä raiskauksesta ja törkeästä lapsen seksuaalisesta hyväksikäytöstä
  26. ^ "Mies tuomittiin Oulussa törkeästä raiskauksesta ja törkeästä lapsen seksuaalisesta hyväksikäytöstä". Kaleva (in Finnish). 4 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  27. ^ a b "Oulu court hands down last sentences in string of 2018 sex crimes". Yle. 12 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  28. ^ "Oulun laajasta seksuaalirikoskokonaisuudesta ensimmäinen tuomio – 21-vuotias mies pakotti 13-vuotiaan jatkamaan sukupuoliyhteyttä väkivalloin". Karjalainen (in Finnish). 9 May 2019. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  29. ^ Pikkarainen, Aleksanteri (7 June 2019). "Oulun vyyhdissä taas vankeustuomio: väitti luulleensa 16-vuotiaaksi". Iltalehti (in Finnish). Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  30. ^ Viljakainen, Miika (21 December 2018). "Oulun lapsen raiskauksesta epäilty 25-vuotias mies Euroopan etsityimpien listalle". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  31. ^ Loukkola, Pekka (9 July 2019). "Oulun seksuaalirikosvyyhdin kuudes tuomio: neljä vuotta ja kuusi kuukautta törkeästä lapsen seksuaalisesta hyväksikäytöstä ja törkeästä raiskauksesta" (in Finnish). Yle. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  32. ^ Kemppainen, Susanna (20 June 2019). "Neljä vuotta vankeutta 13-vuotiaan tytön raiskauksesta ja hyväksikäytöstä – Tekijä tiesi, että tyttöä oli aiemmin hyväksikäytetty". Kaleva (in Finnish). Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  33. ^ Kilpeläinen, Kia (14 July 2019). "Oulun seksuaalirikosvyyhti: kahdeksan miestä käytti hyväkseen tyttölasta – näin oikeus tuomitsi miehet, tekijöiden nimet julki". Iltalehti (in Finnish). Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  34. ^ Jäntti, Mari (14 May 2019). "Toinen tuomio laajasta seksuaalirikosvyyhdistä: kaksi vuotta vankeutta 13-vuotiaan lapsen törkeästä seksuaalisesta hyväksikäytöstä" (in Finnish). Yle. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  35. ^ Kemppainen, Susanna (5 June 2019). "Kolme vuotta vankeutta lapseen kohdistuneista seksuaalirikoksista Oulussa – otti yhteyttä Facebookissa ja houkutteli 13-vuotiaan tytön luokseen". Kaleva (in Finnish). Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  36. ^ Salminen, Solmu (9 May 2019). "Törkeimmän Oulu-vyyhden ensimmäinen tuomio: Mies saalisti 13-vuotiasta sosiaalisessa mediassa - löi kasvoihin samaan aikaan, kun raiskasi". Iltalehti (in Finnish). Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  37. ^ Kemppainen, Susanna (9 May 2019). "13-vuotiaan oululaistytön raiskauksesta ja hyväksikäytöstä neljä vuotta vankeutta – rikokset tapahtuivat yksityisasunnossa Oulussa". Kaleva (in Finnish). Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  38. ^ Uusitalo, Henriikka (7 June 2019). "Käräjoikeus antoi neljännen tuomion Oulun seksuaalirikosvyyhdissä – tekijälle reilu kolme vuotta vankeutta". Kaleva (in Finnish). Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  39. ^ Leinonen, Anna (12 July 2019). "Oulun seksuaalirikosvyyhden viimeiset tuomiot: Käräjäoikeus tuomitsi kaksi miestä vuosien mittaiseen vankeuteen". Lapin Kansa (in Finnish). Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  40. ^ "Käräjäoikeus antoi viimeiset tuomiot Oulun seksuaalirikosjutussa: 26-vuotiaalle miehelle neljä vuotta vankeutta, 33-vuotiaalle neljä vuotta ja kaksi kuukautta". Karjalainen (in Finnish). 12 July 2019. Retrieved 14 July 2019.
  41. ^ Aleksi Teivainen (6 December 2018). "Police: 10 people suspected of sex crimes against minors in Oulu". Helsinki Times. Retrieved 31 January 2019. “The guilty parties will be punished regardless of their ethnicity in a state of law. The police is responsible for investigating and communicating about the events in Oulu, the judicial system for convicting [the perpetrators],” he said.
  42. ^ "Statement by Prime Minister Sipilä on sexual suspects in Oulu". Finlands statsrådet (in Finnish). Finnish Government. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2019. The government has changed the law since the beginning of the year, making it easier to expel foreigners who have committed crimes.
  43. ^ "Finland Shocked by Migrant Grooming Gangs Assaulting Girls as Young as 10". Sputnik (news agency). 6 December 2018. Retrieved 31 January 2019. According to Niinistö, Finland must muster strength to fight this "evil". "This should not be happening in Finland", Interior Minister Kai Mykkänen told the newspaper Iltalehti. Mykkänen said that Finnish society must "find ways to prevent similar cases" and claimed harsher sentencing one of the ways to go.
  44. ^ Johannes Kotkavirta (15 January 2019). "Brittiläinen Daily Mail tarttui presidentti Niinistön kommentteihin Oulun tapahtumista". Ilta-Sanomat (in Finnish). Retrieved 31 January 2019. On Saturday, President Niinistö took a position on the recent news about additional offenses committed by foreign-born men. "It is unacceptable that some asylum seekers and even those who have been granted asylum have brought evil here and created insecurity here," Niinistö comments in a statement published on the President's website.
  45. ^ "Finland Considers Expelling Migrant Sex Offenders as Grooming Gang Busted". sputniknews.com. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  46. ^ Aleksi Teivainen (7 January 2019). "Risikko ready to make revoking residence permits easier". Helsinki Times. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  47. ^ Tarmo Virki (13 January 2019). "Sex abuse cases color immigration debate before Finnish election". Reuters. Retrieved 31 January 2019. Antti Kaikkonen, parliamentary head of the coalition-leading Centre Party, called for a meeting of all the parliamentary party heads, tweeting: “Everyone who comes to Finland has to follow the local laws.”
  48. ^ Tarmo Virki; Anne Kauranen (14 January 2019). "Finns rush to back withdrawing asylum from sex offenders". Reuters. Retrieved 31 January 2019. A Finnish citizens’ initiative to withdraw asylum from people convicted of sex crimes received tens of thousands of signatures over the weekend and has become an important political issue
  49. ^ "Recent immigrant violence pushes up populist support in Finland: poll". Xinhua News Agency. 11 January 2019. Retrieved 31 January 2019.
  50. ^ "Finnish Parliament affirms support for three proposals to prevent sex crimes". www.helsinkitimes.fi. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  51. ^ "Oulu bans asylum seeker visits to schools". Yle. 31 January 2019. Retrieved 5 February 2019. The city of Oulu has temporarily banned asylum seeker and refugee visits to schools and daycare centres as investigations into sexual abuse of minors continue.
  52. ^ "Nuorille oma paikka kauppakeskuksen lähelle – Oulu hakee yli kahta miljoonaa euroa seksuaalirikosten ehkäisemiseen". Ilta-Sanomat. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  53. ^ "Finland's opposition Social Democrats edge ahead in election". Deutsche Welle. 14 April 2019. Retrieved 22 April 2019. strong gains for the main far-right party [...] the Finns Party has attracted voters from small towns and villages worried about the issue, especially following publicized incidents of alleged sexual assaults by migrants last year
  54. ^ Frédéric Faux (15 April 2019). "En Finlande, les sociaux démocrates battent l'extrême droite sur le fil". Le Figaro (in French). Retrieved 15 April 2019. mais les Vrais Finlandais ont profité d’une série d’agressions sexuelles qui auraient été le fait d’immigrés, l’hiver dernier, pour prendre leur envol.
  55. ^ Antti Rinne (15 April 2019). "Elezioni in Finlandia, i socialisti vincono di misura ma rischiano di perdere il seggio di vantaggio". La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 22 April 2019. I Veri finlandesi sono forti [...] negli ultimi mesi una decina di arresti di extracomunitari accusati e sospettati di abusi sessuali o stupri aveva allarmato non piccola parte dell'opinione pubblica.

Further reading[edit]