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Danish children's rights campaigner found guilty of smuggling


Denmark

Danish children's rights campaigner found guilty of smuggling

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  • Couple’s lawyer says no money changed hands
  • Family of six were driven from a Danish ferry terminal to a bridge crossing leading to Sweden
  • Couple has two weeks to appeal

The news

A court in Denmark has fined a prominent children’s rights campaigner for giving a family of Syrian migrants a lift across the country to Sweden.

Lisbeth Zornig Andersen and her husband Michael Lindholm have both been fined 22,250 Danish crowns (2, 983 euros) under Denmark’s Aliens Act.

Zornig Andersen, a former chair of the Danish National Children’s Council, took the family of six to her home in September last year.

Danish media reported that Mr Lindholm later drove them on to a bridge crossing from where they could travel to Sweden.

The court ruled the couple are guilty of violating Danish immigration laws forbidding assisting foreigners to cross Denmark illegally.

The legislation bans providing transport to people who do not hold a resident’s permit.

The couple has two weeks to appeal.

A Danish citizen was fined in January for driving five migrants to Sweden.

In numbers

Hundreds of refugees and migrants were crossing into Germany at the time.

Denmark, like its neighbour Sweden and a host of other European countries, has tightened border controls in response to the migrant and refugee crisis.

  • 279 – arrested for the same offence between September 2015 and February 2016
  • 140 – arrested for the same offence during the whole of 2014
  • 163,000 – the number of refugees accepted in Sweden in 2015
  • 21,000 – the number accepted in Denmark in 2014 (a 44% increase)

What they are saying

“I am furious. Anything but an acquittal is wrong.” Lisbeth Zornig Andersen says the court wanted to set an example.

“This was the wrong decision by the judge. Since no money changed hands, this could not be seen as smuggling under the United Nations protocol against the smuggling of migrants” the couple’s lawyer, Bjorn Elmquist thinks it is the wrong decision.

“I am not proud of this for our country. Our legislation is bad. I had hoped the judges would have kept an open mind about that” Bjorn Elmquist

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