Journo ousted from Putin- Trump briefing correctly: NPB
21 Mar 2019, 00:08 ( 1 Month ago) | updated: 21 Mar 2019, 01:03 ( 1 Month ago)
The National Police Board (NPB) said that Helsinki Police Department did not in any way act in an incorrect manner regarding the apprehension of a journalist from the joint press briefing of Russian president Vladimir Putin and United States president Donald Trump in Helsinki on July 16, 2018 .
The NPB after an investigation recently resolved the legality control issues pertaining the apprehension saying that in this kind of head-of-state level press conference, the police had heightened obligation to ensure that the event is not disturbed, said a NPB press release on Wednesday.
National Police Board started the investigation of the incident after the conduct of the police was criticized by news media.
The apprehended reporter also made later a complaint of the matter to National Police Board as well as to the Parliamentary Ombudsman of Finland. In addition, a person unrelated to the incident made a complaint of the apprehension to the Chancellor of Justice.
National Police Board acquired a statement from Helsinki Police Department as well as a report from the responsible officials.
According to the obtained reports, the police had first tried to intervene with the disruptive and inappropriate behaviour of the individual. When the person did not obey the orders of the police, the individual was removed from the press conference and apprehended afterwards to secure trouble-free continuation of the press conference, said the NPB report.
There was no evidence that the use of force would have been too excessive when taking into account the circumstances of the situation nor that the apprehension of the reporter would have lasted unreasonably long time, said the report.
Security people dragged the journalist out from the joint press briefing, which raised questions about the state of press freedom in Finland.
Security men removed Sam Husseini, a contributor to a political magazine in USA, from the venue. He wrote “NUCLEAR WEAPON BAN TREATY” on a white paper to draw the attention of the two leaders.
Husseini said he came to Helsinki to ask the presidents questions about the threat of nuclear weapons and to distribute an open letter about the need for secure elections and true national security.
According to him, asking hard questions to the presidents is difficult as officials do not allow it.
He expected the security people would understand that the sign did not constitute a protest or ask him to turn over the sign. He would have abided by that decision, Husseini said, but instead, security officers “lunged for the sign, knocking my glasses to the floor and dragging me out of the hall” reported national broadcaster Yle quoting the journalist as saying.
The law enforcers took him to a small room and told that Finnish law allowed the police to detain him for 24 hours without any charge.
Husseini was denied access to his phone or other possessions and had to relinquish his press badge which he later got back.
On his way to a detention facility, Husseini said he hollered to onlookers. “This is freedom of press in Finland!” As a result, officers tackled him to the ground and cuffed him, the Yle added.
Husseini was asked more questions at the detention facility and released at midnight. No charges were pressed against him.