Finland puts journalists on trial for revealing defence secrets

Tuomo Pietilaina, Laura Halmi and Kalle Silfverberg are accused of publishing classified documents in a newspaper.

Editor-in-chief of Helsingin Sanomat Kaius Niemi (R) speaks with his lawyer Kai Kotiranta (L) ahead of the hearing for the Helsingin Sanomat Finnish Intelligence Research Center court case in Helsinki
Editor-in-chief of Helsingin Sanomat, Kaius Niemi (R), speaks with lawyer Kai Kotiranta (L) ahead of a hearing in Helsinki of the newspaper's journalists for allegedly revealing military secrets of the Finnish Intelligence Research Center [Markku Ulander/Lehtikuva/AFP]

Finland has put three journalists on trial on charges of revealing national defence secrets for allegedly publishing classified documents in a newspaper article.

The December 16, 2017, article in daily newspaper Helsingin Sanomat focused on the activities of the Finnish Intelligence Research Center, a military intelligence agency.

The investigative report revealed the rough location and tasks of an intelligence unit of the defence forces.

Reporters Tuomo Pietilaina and Laura Halmi, and the paper’s acting manager at the time, Kalle Silfverberg, have denied wrongdoing.

If convicted, they face prison sentences of up four years, according to Finnish broadcaster MTV.

The three were not present at the District Court of Helsinki on Thursday but are scheduled to testify at the end of November, MTV reported.

A planned follow-up article was not published on the order of the editor-in-chief after the first story drew criticism, according to MTV.

On Thursday, a prosecutor demanded the removal of the online version of the original story from the newspaper’s website, MTV said.

Source: AP