Court of Appeal abolishes Nordic Resistance Movement, NRM nazis established new association

NRM Finland leaders Antti Niemi (front right) and Otto Rutanen (front left) at the Turku Appeal Court in August 2018.

The Turku Appeal Court ruled on Friday 28th of September 2018, like the Pirkanmaa District Court, that the neo-nazi organization Finland’s Nordic Resistance Movement (NRM) and its background organization Pohjoinen Perinne ry (Nordic Tradition r.a) is to be abolished. The court of appeal saw, like the district court, that the organizations activities are “against the law and good manners”. The ruling does not yet constitute a final judgment.

According to NRMs lawyer, Tommi Koivistoinen, NRM is considering applying for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Finland, but the decision about that will come in October at the earliest. After the sessions at the court of appeal, the leader of NRMs Finnish branch Antti Niemi said that they are going to apply for leave to appeal, in the case that the court of appeal decides to rule for the abolishing of the organization.

Nordic Resistance Movement at the Pirkanmaa District Court in October 2017. From right to left: Antti Niemi, Jesse Torniainen, Tomi Tiihonen and Antti-Pekka Lehto.

The Finnish police said that they’re going to familiarize themselves with the court of appeals ruling, but reminds that the ruling is not yet final:

“The police board is defining policies for police departments on the matter. Visible interventions during demonstrations, for example, will be done based on assessment of the situation as a whole. The court of appeal saw that the organization is to be abolished, which means that activities related to that must be abolished and that continuing the activities of the organization is punishable”, National Police Commissioner Seppo Kolehmainen said in a press release.

Professor of criminal law at Helsinki University, Kimmo Nuotio, estimates that “on the grounds of the appeal court’s ruling activities of organizations can be banned immediately, even if an appeal of the ruling would be made to the Supreme Court.”

NRM was founded ten years ago, late 2008. Early 2010 saw the founding of Pohjoinen perinne ry., via which the nazi organization’s monetary transactions have been handled. Via the registered association the NRM has, among other things, managed their online store Kadulle, which was closed after the distric court’s ruling, published Vastamedia and Magneettimedia magazines and rented places for the organizations use. The chairman of Pohjoinen perinne ry. is Jesse Torniainen, who’s currently serving a prison sentence, vice chairman is Tomi Tiihonen and the treasurer is Antti-Pekka Lehto. Right before the district court sessions, NRM registered a new association by the name Suomalaisapu ry. (Finn Aid r.a.) as a precaution. In order for the abolishing of the nazis’ Pohjoisen perinne association to have any real impact, the new registered association, Suomalaisapu ry., should also have its monetary traffic frozen and the association abolished.

New association for monetary traffic

NRM and Suomalaisapu ry. logos.

After the appeal court’s session, NRM published an interview with the leader of the organization, Antti Niemi. In the interview Niemi giggles that journalists from Yle, the Finnish state owned broadcasting company, haven’t been able to find out that NRM has founded a entirely new association:

“They did some kind of piece on that in the end. I was amused, this is guaranteed Yle stuff, like that right off, this has the headline like, wrong. It had Suomalaisapu written between apostrophes, even though Suomalaisapu is actually a real registered association. There we have some background info again… Hadn’t been checked at all.”

Asiakastieto.fi web site has the NRM leader Antti Niemi listed as contact for Suomalaisapu ry.

Suomalaisapu is a project that NRM started years ago, that has s

Screenshot of NRM web site from September 2018, where the organization is advertising their Suomalaisapu activities.

ought inspiration from from Greece’s Golden Dawn nazi party and Italian neo-fascist Casa Pound organization. Both fascist organizations have implemented “ethnically restricted” charity projects that have aimed to increase the social support for fascism and at the same time spread hate and confrontation between different groups. In 2012 the NRM leadership discussed on a closed forum later leaked to public, what kind of “charity” should the nazi organization practice in order to bring forth a more positive image. Suomalaisapu was chosen as the name for the “charity work”. In 2016 Yle confirmed in a series of interviews with NRM’s former leader Esa Holappa, that “a part of NRM’s activities are run under the name of Suomalaisapu.” Suomalaisapu was first publicly mentioned in NRM’s activity in 2013, but in 2014 it drew more attention after NRM had organized failed street patrols in the fall under the name Suomalaisapu that lead to clashes three times.

Suomalaisapu activity drew attention in the fall of 2014, when the nazis organized three street patrols in Helsinki wearing vests equipped with Suomalaisapu logos. Nordic Resistance Movement (at the time still Finnish Resistance Movement) published a video of a street patrol held on 25th of October 2014, where Jimi Karttunen’s killer Jesse Torniainen (in front, second from right) is leading the Suomalaisapu patrol.

When the Police Board took legal action in early 2017 to abolish the NRM, the defendants in the application for a summons were the members of the NRM’s Finnish council and Pohjoinen perinne ry. The application for a summons mentions that, according to the NRM web site, “the council chairman Antti Niemi is in charge of Suomalaisapu”. The district court’s ruling mentions NRM’s Suomalaisapu action several times. In addition, it’s mentioned that “Pohjoinen perinne ry is supporting Suomalaisapu financially” and that “support payments have been used for material acquiring materials, paying rents and supporting NRM’s Suomalaisapu”. NRM’s articles about suomalaisapu were also used as evidence in the appeal court’s ruling to ban the NRM.  However, it seems the Police Board have missed the fact that since the district court’s ruling, NRM have made their Suomalaisapu action official by founding a new association.

Nordic Resistance Movement wrote on their page about Suomalaisapu in December 2015.

 

The NRM web site interviewed “a volunteer from Pori” Johannes Murto. Cari Johannes Murto is the founder of the NRM group in Pori and the group leader. The illustration of the interview shows the NRM Helsinki group collecting donations for Suomalaisapu. The picture shows NRM leaders Otto Rutanen (on the right) and Antti-Pekka Lehto (second from right), who were also present at the trial that banned the organization.

When the Police Board took legal action in early 2017 to abolish the NRM, the defendants in the application for a summons were the members of the NRM’s Finnish council and Pohjoinen perinne ry. The application for a summons mentions that, according to the NRM web site, “the council chairman Antti Niemi is in charge of Suomalaisapu”. The district court’s ruling mentions NRM’s Suomalaisapu action several times. In addition, it’s mentioned that “Pohjoinen perinne ry is supporting Suomalaisapu financially” and that “support payments have been used for material acquiring materials, paying rents and supporting NRM’s Suomalaisapu”. NRM’s articles about suomalaisapu were also used as evidence in the appeal court’s ruling to ban the NRM.  However, it seems the Police Board have missed the fact that since the district court’s ruling, NRM have made their Suomalaisapu action official by founding a new association.

Nordic Resistance Movement opened a clubroom in Tampere in 2016 and with it a storage for Suomalaisapu. A similar model has been used in the past in clubrooms in Turku and Helsinki, that have since been closed.

A photo published by Suomalaisapu Facebook page show the Tampere group of the NRM posing in front of the Mannerheim statue in Tampere December 2017. Present with other NRM members from Pirkanmaa region are the chairman of Suomalaisapu ry Antti Niemi (second from the right), vice chairman Toni Toorikka (on the right) and Petri Nordman (on the left).

Application for a permit to an association named Suomalaisapu ry was submitted on 13th of October 2017, or about two weeks before the trial for abolishing NRM started in the Pirkanmaa District Court. Because the association was not yet registered, it wasn’t mentioned individually as a defendant like Pohjoinen perinne ry.  The official chairman of Suomalaisapu ry association is the NRM leader Antti Niemi and the vice chairman is an activist and “The Activist of the Year” from NRM’s Tampere group Toni Toorikka. The treasurer for the association is Petri Nordman, who is a long time activist in the NRM and the chairman of Kansan yhtenäisyys ry (People’s Unity r.a.), an association founded for the NRM political party project that started in early summer of 2018. All of the key members in the board of Suomalaisapu ry are well known NRM activists, of whom the chairman Niemi is one of the defendants in the trial to ban the NRM.

The Nordic Resistance Movement’s leader Antti Niemi is also the chairman of the association Suomalaisapu ry.

An activist of the Nordic Resistance Movement from Tampere, Toni Toorikka, is the vice chairman of Suomalaisapu ry.

Another Nordic Resistance Movement activist from Tampere, Petri Nordman, (in the middle with the microphone) is the treasurer of Suomalaisapu ry. Nordman is also the chairman of Kansan yhtenäisyys ry, an association founded for the political party project of NRM.

The purpose of Suomalaisapu ry is, according to its rules, “to organize a multiform of aid action, for example safety patrolling in public areas as well as collecting clothes, items and foodstuff. To support its action the association can sell its support products and receive donations in money”. According to Kauppalehti, the associations business ID has become valid in 30th of July 2018 and it has been marked in the register on the 2nd of August 2018. The purpose of Suomalaisapu is most likely to keep NRM’s monetary traffic running, since Pohjoinen perinne ry was frozen due to the district court’s ruling. It remains to be seen how the police and the prosecutor will handle Suomailaisapu ry, founded to directly continue the work of both NRM and Pohjoinen perinne, and the political party project Kansan yhtenäisyys ry.

Researcher Tommi Kotonen has just assessed in Helsingin Sanomat that the banning NRM will not end the nazis’ activities, since the nazis can found new associations or act in anonymity. With the two new associations the NRM has already reacted to the ban of Pohjoinen perinne association and prepared for the abolishment of their whole organization. With the authorities’ actions dragging behind, intervening to nazi activities is left to the shoulders of grass roots level antifascists actors and the whole society.

See also:

A party of murderers: Nordic Resistance Movement Finland founded a new party project before going to the Court of Appeal

Analysis: Who Participated in the NRM´s National Socialist Demonstration on Independence Day?

The New Fascist Tradition of Independence Day: The 612 Demonstration in Finland 2014-2016

The Activist of the Year of the Nordic Resistance Movement in Finland is the torture-murderer Rami Joukanen

A secretive far-right event in Helsinki on Sunday: international speakers united by anti-semitism and misogyny

Repentant leader, manslaughter and nazi march – Year 2016 for Finland’s Nordic Resistance Movement

Finnish nazi group killed bypasser during their street event

Snitches, weak leadership and degradation of racial theories – Finnish Resistance movement in 2015

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