Police say they have plenty of indirect evidence
Police have yet to find sufficient evidence to file charges against a number of suspected animal welfare activists in fur farm raids committed two years ago in the communities of Teuva and Närpiö.
Helsingin Sanomat has learned that police have found a large amount of indirect evidence suggesting that a tightly-knit group of animal rights activists had something to do with releasing fur animals from their cages.
Three men and two women were held in custody on suspicion of involvement in the spring of 2001. One of the suspects is a citizen of the United States. A few others have been interrogated during the investigation.
All of those questioned have either denied their guilt or have refused to answer any questions.
The extensive material from the preliminary investigation has been sent to State Prosecutor Pekka Koponen
The strongest piece of evidence that would tie the suspects to the raids committed during Easter 2001 is in the form of hairs of the rare sapphire mink that were found on the coat of a woman who was detained during the investigation.
Circumstantial evidence includes tools, protective clothing, lights, and two-way radios found in the car of one of the suspects. An instruction manual for the radios was found at the home of another known animal rights activist in Tampere.
The Tampere apartment also had a radio scanner which had been tuned to a number of frequencies used by police in the fur-farming area of Ostrobothnia.
Police also found a topographic map of the Närpiö area and a magnetic radio antenna.
Files recovered from the suspects' computers suggest that they have, at the very least, been in close contact with radical animal welfare activists.
One of the computers contained extensive surveillance information, including carefully encrypted maps of areas with a high density of fur farms. There was also a copy of a video taken by activists during their raid on a farm in Iisalmi.
The investigation into the fur farm raids has been exceptionally thorough and extensive.
The animal rights activists taken into custody were also questioned about a number of previous similar raids in other parts of the country, where footprints and tyre tracks were found that matched the tyres and shoes of some of the suspects.
DNA evidence linked one of the suspects to a raid on a fur farm in the southeastern community of Taipalsaari in February 2001.
The DNA was isolated from mucus that was found next to a set of footprints leading away from the scene.
The DNA from the fur farm matched that of a man who has been a vocal advocate of animal rights issues.
Helsingin Sanomat International Edition, 10.2.2003