Country Report on Terrorism 2009 - Chapter 2 - Finland

Information sharing between Finnish and U.S. authorities regarding terrorism-connected cases was an effective tool for both countries. Relevant Finnish agencies monitored potential threats closely and kept their international partners apprised of threats with connections outside the borders of Finland.

In a rare publicized case in November, a Finnish citizen was deported from Sweden to Finland because of suspected links to a terrorist organization. Media reports confirmed by the government indicated that this individual was closely monitored by the Security Police (SUPO) after his return from Sweden.

Finland took additional steps to verify the identity of those seeking to enter the country and anticipated a further surge in immigration through family reunification. The Government of Finland continued to exert significant efforts to assimilate newcomers into society and to avoid conditions that would lead to radicalization of minority groups. These measures included social benefits, Finnish language training, and ombudsmen’s offices to advocate on behalf of immigrants.

One new measure that Finland was considering to prevent the infiltration of terrorists or their facilitators into the country was the permanent stationing of SUPO officers at Finnish embassies abroad. If approved, this would be the first foreign deployment of dedicated counterterrorism personnel. The director of SUPO has publicly stated that these officers would be focused on “stop(ping) potential terrorists in the country of departure.” The government has made a request to parliament for US$ 2.3 million to fund the 15-20 personnel who would be involved in the effort.

Finland continued its contributions towards building counterterrorism capacity with overseas partners. It made donations, under its G8 Global Partnership pledge, of approximately US$ 14 to 21 million for the period 2004-2014, including about US$ 350,000 as part of the Nuclear Smuggling Outreach Initiative to provide equipment to the Kyrgyz Republic needed to prevent the smuggling of nuclear materials that might be sought by terrorist groups. Finland also began a police-prosecutor training program in Afghanistan to facilitate investigation and prosecution of serious crimes there, including those related to terrorism, and it continued to be the third-largest contributor of trainers to the EUPOL training program for Afghan police. On January 22, the government reached a decision to temporarily increase the strength of Finnish military crisis management personnel by approximately 50 soldiers from the current ceiling of 145, all expected to be deployed by the beginning of 2011. Finland also aimed to allocate a larger proportion of its development cooperation funding to the northern provinces of Afghanistan, and to deepen its participation in the EU police mission in northern Afghanistan.