Chechens stage picket outside Finnish church threatening Lutheran pastor

Helsinki, November 1, 2010

Chechens living in Finland staged an unauthorized picket outside a church in Raasepori during a Sunday evening service to try to intimidate the local clergyman Juha Molari.

Human rights activist and chairman of the Finnish Antifascist Committee Johan Backman told Interfax that some 20 Chechens assembled near the church led by the owner and editor of the Kavkaz Center website of Chechen separatists Mikael Storsjo.

"They unfolded banners accusing Molari of anti-Chechen terrorism and of being a FSB agent and chanted accusations against him," Backman said.

"As Molari was conducting a service, he could not call the police but parishioners were shocked and angered by the picket," he said.

He said he would contact the police to investigate the incident because "the law was apparently broken."

"Not only did the picketers threaten the clergyman but they conducted the picket in the immediate vicinity of the church which is banned by our law," Backman said.

He said that two criminal cases related to the illegal immigration of Chechens to Finland had been launched against Storsjo in the town of Vantaa. Many of the new arrivals are actively assisting the operations of the website.

Backman said that Molari is widely known by his criticism of the portal operating in Finland and propagating extremist views and that he has bent threatened for that.

Thus on September 28 Molari received an e-mail signed by the leader of militants in the North Caucasus Doku Umarov saying: "I advice you to stop your efforts against Kavkaz Center. If you don't change your mind, we will cut off your head and the heads of all your family members. You are given seven days for consideration."

Molari appealed to law enforcement bodies to handle the case but the prosecutor's office declined the plea.

11/2/2010

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