Finland’s Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld a decision by two lower courts to ban a far-right group and two of its subgroups at the request of the National Police Board. The litigation, which originally began in 2017, came to an end when the highest Court ruled the groups’ activities are “significantly contrary to law” and are not afforded the protection of “freedom of expression or freedom of association.”
The court’s decision outlaws the Nordic Resistance (PVL), a neo-Nazi movement. PVL originally gained public recognition when member Jesse Torniainen was convicted of aggravated assault for an encounter during a September 2016 demonstration that left the victim dead. In 2017 the Police of Finland, through the National Police Board, requested the group be outlawed.
At the appellate level, the Court of Appeals of the city of Turku ruled PVL should be shut down, citing its violence and constant hate speech toward immigrants, Jews and sexual minorities. In 2019 the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo) confirmed PVL’s violence and warned against the organization in its National Security Review. After the Supreme Court’s decision became public, Supo acknowledged they provided expert assistance during the legal proceedings and will continue to monitor the group’s illegal activities.
Reaffirming the Court of Appeals, Finland’s Supreme Court wrote that PVL’s activities violated fundamental human rights offered through Finland’s Constitution as well as those guaranteed by international human rights standards. The court further confirmed that PVL’s activities could not be protected as free speech or freedom of association, and in fact, abused these liberties.