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Child Sexual Abuse Is Illegal In Finland

Yelena Dzhanova Yelena Dzhanova
14th July 2021
Child Sexual Abuse Is Illegal In Finland
Claims otherwise originated from a propaganda news outlet (Getty Images).

The Claim

A Finnish court ruled that having sex with a 10-year-old is not considered rape as long as the perpetrator comes from a culture in which children and adults normally have sexual relations. 

Emerging story

In May 2018, RT, a Russian TV network with a reputation for spreading false information, claimed that a Finnish court ruled that a Muslim asylum-seeker in Finland who had sexually abused a 10-year-old girl, did not rape her. Sean Adl-Tabatabai, the co-founder of fake news platform YourNewsWire, aggregated the claim, citing RT. Throughout June and July, social media users have been posting screenshots of a portion of Adl-Tabatabai’s writing, which claimed that sex with children is permitted in Finland.  

A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body
A supporting image within the article body

Misbar’s Analysis

There are numerous laws that say sex with children is not permitted in Finland, which is evidence that directly refutes the claims originally posted by RT and re-circulated by Sean Adl-Tabatabai. A translation of Finland’s criminal code says an offender will be charged with sexual abuse if they perform “a sexual act on a child below the age of sixteen years.”

In his aggregation, Adl-Tabatabai referenced a real court ruling from 2018 and linked out to a Finnish news site. The URL, however, takes readers to a broken link whose contents cannot be verified. But a Finnish article from 2018 says that the court did rule that the man who raped the 10-year-old girl to be charged with aggravated sexual abuse of a child. The court also ruled to uphold his prison sentence of three years. 

According to dates on social media posts sharing the claim, Adl-Tabatabai wrote the piece between May and September 2018. The precise date is unclear. 

Both RT and YourNewsWire are widely regarded as non-credible sources of information. According to Poynter, a nonprofit organization focused on media development and journalism, YourNewsWire has been debunked dozens of times. And Adl-Tabatabai has a track record of disseminating fake news

The Columbia Journalism Review, a well-regarded magazine targeted toward professional journalists, calls RT a “Kremlin propaganda outlet.” 

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