Finding help if you are a victim of a hate crime is difficult in Finland

by , under Enrique Tessieri

There was a horrible attack against a Pakistani father of two over on February 23. Just to get an idea of the wounds he sustained on that terrible night, it took last week four hours to remove his stitches. 

What would have happened if the attackers were three Pakistanis who attacked a white Finn in such a vile manner? What would be the public’s and media’s reaction?

We got an example of this in 2015 when Finnish youths of non-white background sexually assaulted a white woman in the Helsinki neighborhood of Tapanila.

Reporting on such a terrible story is difficult. I still remember a plea that the Pakistani victim told the attackers as he laid on the ground: “Please don’t kill me, I have two children.”

A Pakistani was attacked by three white Finns on February 23 and was near death. Pictured published with the permission of the victim. Photo by Enrique Tessieri.

Getting justice in Finland from a suspected hate crime is difficult.

I called Amnesty International, and they told me to get in touch with the Finnish League for Human Rights. Right, you guessed it. I was told by them to call the Refugee Advice Center. They have a helpline from 10-12, but after waiting for 20 minutes, I gave up.

Fortunately, Victim Support Finland (RIKU) got in touch with me the following day after I left them a message.

I asked if they knew of any lawyers who had experience in handling hate crimes. The person admitted that hate crime is such a new phenomenon in the Finnish penal code that that such lawyers are hard if not impossible to find.

Apart from finding help, the police may be another problem. Some may play down racism due to insufficient training in hate crime cases. They may also erroneously believe that racism “goes away” if they play it down or deny it outright.

I am an anti-racist activist with tools to get information. Imagine if a hate crime victim had to search for a lawyer like I did?

It’s a bit like how this country treats hate speech and racism: It is a long and winding path that can take months to travel. It is a path where you quickly become frustrated and conclude, wrongly, that it’s not worth the trouble because nobody cares.

Finland needs to get real. It requires more effective laws and training in hate crime, hate speech and discrimination.


  1. Light

    1. Finding help is not difficult but impossible, because he is pakistani, a muslim, a foreigner.

    2. There are many organizations in Finland with different names ( red cross, ombudsman , Monika Naiset, anti racists, … go on, more and more, many and many and all of them claim that are working for human rights, refugees, immigrants,…., they will waste your time, they will not do any thing for you, they will say a sorry after long time playing with you, you will be a ball between them, from here to there, from there to another there and here ) all are fake! ask me, i been there, i done that all ! this is their business and work, they make money , thats all !

    I really laugh in my heart when i see this organizations talk talk talk and they never act, or for example Monika naiset and red cross and ombudsman have racists inside themselves too,…now imagine what am talking about !

    3. Police will write a report and will send a completely different, opposite story about what happened to pakistani man to court, police will say : it was not a racism case, nothing hateful something missunderstading, or will say : they are very young, they were drunk… or will say : terrorist youngsters afraid of pakistani man and thats why they attacked him…. finnish police is racist not %100 but %1000 and will make every thing against pakistani man , they hate muslims!

    4. Every finnish lawyer is looking for money, they will not say a no to victim, they will accept his case, but they will never defend him, this is very noraml in finnish court, all cases that are about foreigners, immigrant, muslims, asylum seekers, refugees, will finish with a penalty for foreigner , howeve lawyer will ask lots of money and will close the case easily and after he/she took money, will not answer to victim, no e.mails or phone and will ignoring victim clearly ! or at least will say to victim: here is Finland, i can not stand against a finnish person !

    And racist judge will not look at victim, not even a moment, victim hardly can defend himself because it will be a racist court, exactly a racist court ! judge will bully him !

    *** “Please don’t kill me, I have two children.” ***

    I absolutely understand this words, because i was begging racists: please dont touch me, dont beat me, let me go, let me go…sorry sorry

    It is very much hard to say sorry to those who are attacking you ( but you are shock, you want save yourself, you are alone, you dont know what word is okay to say it in this horrible situation, monsters kicking you, calling you bad bad bad names, so you say sorry , you have no more choice, you afraid they kill you) and you are like a meat under their legs, terrorists hiting you and even people coming and standing and watching this torture show with a very relax face, you ask help help, in finnish language and English, but nobody helps you, finns, foreigners watching you under attack, everybody enjoying a real and alive terror show and some finns encouraging terrorits and this 21th century ?

    Finland is a very dangerous country!

    5. Court will not answer him quickly, not even after a year, it will take over a year and then again he must wait for last decision and answer, and it will be unjustice, just an unjustice vote against victim! it will take at least 2 years.

    Finnish courts have this kind of cases all the time, nothing new, no surprise !

    Media will not talk about this cases, never, even if you yourself go there and try to report them or talk to a journalist, they will ignoring you, they will behave racist, and they will insult you !