The publisher of a Helsinki-based website that supports Chechen terrorists, Mikael Storsjo, has gone on trial in Finland accused of illegally smuggling Chechens into the country.
The trial, which involves Storsjo and another man, Abdoulkhamid Mechiyev, ended on Friday, but the decision will be announced on May 9, 2011.
An investigation found that Mechiyev is the brother of notorious terrorist Shamil Basayev, Interfax news agency quoted the chairman of the Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee, Johan Backman, as saying. Shamil Basayev was responsible for the Beslan school massacre in 2004 and other terrorist attacks.
Backman added that following a preliminary hearing on the case on February 24, Mechiyev changed his name to Deni Berkat.
The prosecution claims that the two men illegally brought dozens of Chechen nationals into the country (some 100 people, according to media reports). Storsjo and Mechiyev allegedly bought tickets for them from Turkey to St. Petersburg through Helsinki, and the Chechens then stayed in Finland. Some of the migrants subsequently received legal residency permits.
Storsjo argues his actions were dictated by humanitarian reasons, however, there are reports his activities may have gone further than that.
Mikael Storsjo founded and runs the website Kavkaz Center, a propaganda mouthpiece for one of the world's most wanted terrorists Doku Umarov who has been declared by the UN to have links with Al-Qaeda.
Umarov is responsible for some of Russia's most horrific recent terror attacks: the Moscow Metro blasts in 2010 and the Domodedovo Airport bombing in January this year. In total, the attacks killed almost 80 people and injured nearly 300.
The site calls Doku Umarov a “president”. It transmits messages about those he views as his enemies and carries ads for books about the life of a Mujahideen fighter.
“The situation is that Kavkaz Center and Storsjo and his associates are working for the politicization of the Islamic diaspora in Finland and Europe,” says Dr Johan Backman from the Finnish Anti-Fascism Committee in Helsinki. “They want to make radicals.”
Mikael Storsjo is being prosecuted not for aiding terrorism but for illegally smuggling some 100 individuals into Finland, people who he calls “freedom fighters”.
“The way that the Kavkaz Center writes about the situation is contaminating. The Finnish media is slowly writing the same way, and what they are writing is it is correct to carry out terror attacks in Russia,” Dr Johan Backman points out.
The company that houses the terrorists’ website is called Office House and has headquarters right in the center of Helsinki. In the meantime, those who speak out against Islamic extremism are being persecuted by the Finnish authorities for allegedly “violating the rights of minorities”.
Finnish Pastor Yuha Molari was defrocked, fired from his ministry with no severance pay and forced to divorce his wife to protect her from death threats he received.
These came from Doku Umarov himself, who said the pastor and his loved ones would have their heads cut off. The cleric's church decided he was threatening a legitimate website and criminal case for inciting racial hatred has been launched.
Molari says he is trying to make something positive out of losing his job.
“All the time I was working. Now I have more time to better focus on this subject,” the defrocked pastor says, preparing to raise public awareness about the site that has ripped his life apart by spreading propaganda about a man who has torn apart the lives of thousands.