Helsinki District Court imposed a fine on a man convicted of assault and battery on Friday for performing circumcisions on two Muslim boys. The parents of the boys were convicted of incitement to assault and battery, but no punishment was meted out.
The man who performed the circumcisions said that he had done so thousands of times in Turkey and Iran. However, he lacked the licences required for performing such procedures in Finland.
One of the boys suffered a painful infection.
Finland does not have legislation on religiously mandated circumcisions.
In 2008 the Finnish Supreme Court ruled that religiously mandated circumcisions are not illegal if they are performed according to proper medical procedure.
In its Friday ruling, Helsinki District Court stated that it would be a misinterpretation of the Supreme Court’s earlier decision to see it as authorising non-medical circumcisions.
After the Supreme Court’s ruling, Finland has signed the Convention on Human rights and Biomedicine of the Council of Europe.
Under the convention, procedures affecting a person’s health must be performed according to applicable professional obligations and requirements. Surgical procedures can be performed on someone incapable of giving informed consent only if there are immediate benefits.
The court ruled that circumcision is a procedure that the person who undergoes it should give consent to. Another prerequisite would be that the person performing the procedure should be a medical or health care professional with a licence in Finland or elsewhere in the European Union.
The court sentenced the man who performed the circumcisions to 60 income-linked “day fines”, which in his case amounted to EUR 360. He and the parents were also ordered to pay EUR 3,000 in compensation to one of the two boys, and EUR 500 to the other.