Finnish court convicts pro-Russian 'trolls' for harassing journalist

Oct. 19 (UPI) — A Finnish court found three pro-Russian “trolls” guilty of defamation and harassment of an investigative journalist.

Ilja Janitskin, the founder of a pro-Kremlin website, was sentenced to 22 months in prison after being found guilty of 16 charges, including defamation of journalist Jessikka Aro.

Aro began reporting in 2014. on allegations of Russian propaganda being generated at an office in St. Petersburg, Russia and spread throughout Finland online. Soon after, Janitskin began publishing articles defaming Aro, including an article that accused her of being a drug addict.

The false hit pieces on Aro led to more harassment by others online, which was encouraged by Johan Backman, a pro-Russia political activist in Finland.

Backman was also found guilty of defaming Aro and received a one-year suspended sentence.

And an unnamed female employee of Janitskin also received a three-month suspended sentence.

The trolling trio was also ordered to €136,000 ($155,000) in damages to be distributed to Aro and two other victims.

Aro told Deutsche Welle that she has been harassed and has received death threats since the defamation campaign against her began in 2014.

“I was hoping maybe this will end, but it just got worse and worse and worse,” she said this week. “Even my own friends started liking and commenting these filth pieces about me, so I noticed that it really has influence.”

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