Supreme Police Command finds no fault with Security Police procedures in Stasi matter
An inspection by the Supreme Police Command on the material collected by the Security Police (SUPO) related to the former East German espionage organisation Stasi won initial approval from the main officials involved in the oversight of legality of the activities of public officials - the Chancellor of Justice and the Parliamentary Ombudsman.
In the inspection, the Supreme Police Command gave its full approval to the way SUPO handled the Stasi material.
"I do not doubt their professional skill. There are professional crime investigators there, and if this is what they said, then they certainly are able to evaluate it correctly", says Chancellor of Justice Jaakko Jonkka.
The idea of police investigating the actions of other police naturally raises the question of whether or not the investigators were sufficiently impartial. According to Jonkka, it is difficult to evaluate how this was done on the basis of an inspection protocol alone, but he sees no reason to question its reliability. The Chancellor of Justice also notes that the main guardians of legality - himself, as well as the Parliamentary Ombudsman - can implement a new inspection if they wish.
Juha Haapamäki, secretary of the Parliamentary Ombudsman, agrees.
"It is positive that it was done", he says.
"However, it is an outside assessment of some kind, even though an outsider to the inspection cannot draw very far-reaching conclusions. We do not have the kind of information that would give cause to dispute the observations."
"We are pleased that the inspection was made, and we are satisfied with the results. Although they did not come as a surprise to me", said Petri Knape, deputy head of SUPO, at a press conference on Friday.
One of the key questions of the inspection was whether or not the Stasi material gives cause for investigations into possible espionage in connection with the contacts that some Finns might have had with East German intelligence.
Knape says that the contacts of about 20 Finnish citizens with Stasi have been checked over the years, and about five have led to an initial criminal investigation. With the others, the police investigation has been stopped, while two have been passed on to prosecutors.
The best-known of these is the suspicion of aggravated espionage by the Rusi brothers, which did not lead to prosecution. In the other one, a suspended sentence was handed down in 1982.
Police Inspector General Robin Lardot was the key figure in the investigation. He and his aides visited the Security Police five times, acquainting himself with the material that was there, and interviewing SUPO officials. The focus of interest was material dating back to the early 1990s.
The publication of the results of the inspection coincides with the court case in which Alpo Rusi is seeking monetary compensation from the state for unfounded suspicions of espionage that had targeted him.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Supreme Police Command to study Stasi material of Security Police (10.8.2007)
Debate over disclosure of Stasi material heats up as Security Police director resigns (30.7.2007)