Friday, 20 July, 2018

Accused shouts at an eyewitness

Turku attack suspect removed from court

12 Apr 2018, 00:36 ( 3 Months ago) | updated: 12 Apr 2018, 14:20 ( 3 Months ago)

DF-Xinhua Report
Turku terror attack suspect Abderrahman Bouanane (C, Front) appears in court in Turku, western Finland, on April 9, 2018. File Photo Xinhua.

Abderrahman Bouanane, who was accused of killing two and injuring eight in Turku, Finland last August, had to be removed from court room on Wednesday as he started shouting at an eyewitness.

Bouanane lost control as Hassan Alazawii, one of the eight injured, said Bouanane was a coward. Alazawii said he had eye contact with the attacker for a moment during the series of stabbings and saw "empty fear" in Bouanane's eyes.

Two other victims on Wednesday said Bouanane acted with determination when he waved the long knife at crowds in the city center of Turku.

Earlier on Wednesday, his lawyer Kaarlo Gummerus said Bouanane had asked him to explain that he smiled in the court on Monday as something had amused him. Gummerus said the accused was "in his own thoughts" and smiled therefore. The judge told Gummerus to tell his client how to behave in a court.

Photographers were allowed to take pictures of Bouanane for a few minutes when the hearing started on Monday, and some commentators said they saw a slight smile on Bouanane's face.

The calm appearance then triggered a debate as a researcher from the Helsinki-based conflict research institute (CMI) said on Tuesday the smile was a kind of "propaganda". The researcher warned that Bouanane was "still at war" against people.

An apparent error in the translation of the EU terrorism definition into Finnish has baffled lawyers. In the Finnish law, the target of terrorism is given as "the state". Bouanane's action in Turku, however, did not cause harm to the state in the meaning of the governmental institutions.

Late last year, the Finnish government started procedures to change the wording into "targeting the country". But the trial will be based on the legislation what was valid last August, not the revised text.

The prosecutor is demanding a sentence for two murders and eight attempts related to a terrorist intention. Bouanane has himself said in police interviews that he saw what he did in the Turku market place as an act of terror, but his defense has denied terrorist intent in Finnish definition any way.

Whether being convicted of terrorist intent has a bearing on the actual length of the likely "life sentence". With a normal life sentence, a convict in Finland is eligible for life on probation after twelve years. If convicted on terrorism, probation or "prison leaves" could be more unlikely, local media noted.

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