Trial begins for bomb-plot suspect targeting foreigners, Muslims

HELSINKI: A man accused of plotting to bomb New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Finnish capital in 2018 went on trial on Thursday, with prosecutors saying he had targeted foreigners and Muslims.

The prosecution demanded a prison sentence for the 22-year-old, who is accused of having prepared homemade explosives and drawn up “detailed plans” to detonate a bomb in Helsinki’s city centre.

During questioning the man told police he wanted a “European culture” and that he did not want different cultures and religions to exist side by side, prosecution documents said.

Wearing a black hooded top, with the sides of his head shaved, he appeared at Helsinki District Court charged with the preparation of an aggravated offence against life or health – he denies the offence, which carries a maximum sentence of four years.

“The accused also downloaded material from the internet with bomb-making instructions,” the prosecutor’s statement said.

The defendant denied the charge but admitted to preparing explosives and to discussing a bomb plot with a work colleague, saying he was drunk during the conversation.

The man’s name has been withheld under Finnish reporting restrictions and his nationality has not been released by the court.

He appeared before judges with a Russian language interpreter.

The court is expected to reach a verdict at the end of February.