Peace activists jailed over failed Saab sabotage

Three peace activists were sentenced to prison and fined on Tuesday for attempting to destroy three Saab Gripen fighter planes last month.

Peace activists jailed over failed Saab sabotage

The District Court in Linköping in central Sweden handed down prison sentences of between four and six months to the three would-be saboteurs and ordered them to pay Saab 150,000 kronor ($17,300) in damages, according to Sveriges Radio (SR).

The three activists, Annika Spalde, Pelle Strindlund, and Martin Smedjeback, are members of Avrusta (‘Disarm’), a group working to stop Swedish weapons exports.

They were charged with attempted sabotage for entering a secure area surrounding Saab Aerospace Systems’ Linköping facilities after cutting through a fence in the early hours of March 22nd.

Once on Saab grounds, the three first observed a minute of silence to commemorate the victims of poverty before then continuing on their quest to destroy several fighter planes with sledgehammers.

But when attempting to break through the door of a hangar housing Gripen planes set for export to Thailand and South Africa, an alarm sounded.

A security guard then arrived on the scene, prompting all three activists to lay down on the ground and surrender.

During the trial, the three argued their actions were justified to prevent the planes from being exported to countries in conflict.

But the court rejected the activists’ argument, based on a broad interpretation of self-defence, and instead agreed with prosecutors who urged the court to convict the three for attempted sabotage.

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