Greenpeace activists fined for forest action

Sixteen Greenpeace activists were found guilty by a Swedish court on Tuesday of taking the law into their own hands after trying to block the logging of an old-growth forest in northern Sweden, the organisation said.

The 16, who were from Denmark, Norway and Sweden, were convicted of arbitrary conduct by the Gällivare district court and sentenced to fines totalling around 50,000 kronor.

During four days in March 2004, the group tried to block Sweden’s National Property Board (SFV), which manages the country’s common property, forests and land, from logging an old-growth forest in Pakkojaakkaa in the far north.

Police were called to the scene and SFV was able to carry out the logging.

Greenpeace has protested against the state’s logging of biologically valuable forests. Old-growth forests are home to trees up to 150 years old, endangered plant and animal species and dead wood that helps promote biological diversity.

“It’s of course a shame that we are the ones who were convicted even though it’s the National Property Board that committed a crime against Sweden’s commitments to maintain our biological diversity,” activist Anders Hellberg said in a statement.

“State logging in old-growth forests remains a problem and we are going to continue to act to preserve the forests,” he said.