Finland’s top court bans neo-Nazi group

Helsinki: Finland’s Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled a neo-Nazi organisation illegal, saying it did not qualify for protection under freedom of speech or assembly as its activities constituted a misuse of those rights.

The ruling relates to a request from the Finnish police in 2017 to disband the Finnish chapter of the Nordic Resistance Movement (NMR), which is active in the Nordic countries.

Police argued the organisation’s activities violated “the law and good practice”, in part by spreading “hateful rhetoric about immigrants, sexual minorities and Jews.”

NMR, which designates itself as a “revolutionary national socialist” organisation, disputed the police request and argued that it was protected under freedom of speech and assembly, according to broadcaster YLE.

The Supreme Court however sided with police and said the organisation should be disbanded, and that it was not protected since its activities by “their nature meant a misuse of these rights.”

“We think the court’s decision is a clear message that organisations that are violent and use speech that is racist or in other ways violate human dignity should not have a place in Finnish society,” police inspector Heikki Lausmaa at the National Board of Police said in a statement. – AFP