Swedish journalist sentenced for ‘smuggling’ refugee boy

Swedish journalist sentenced for 'smuggling' refugee boy
Swedish journalist Fredrik Önnevall. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT
A Swedish journalist and two colleagues were found guilty of people-smuggling by Sweden's highest court, but their sentence was reduced from earlier courts.

Journalist Fredrik Önnevall, who works for public broadcaster SVT, and his cameraman and interpreter were given a suspended sentence and 40 'day fines', as well as 75 hours' community service. This was a reduced sentence from earlier court rulings.

“What I'm positive about is that they changed the penalty. Not because community service plays a role in this, but it sends an important signal that they have understood that we had the goal of helping a boy who was in an emergency situation,” Önnevall said to the TT newswire.

Önnevall and his colleagues met the boy in the spring of 2014 when they were making a documentary for Swedish public broadcaster SVT about the reaction of Europe's nationalist parties to the migrant influx.

Their legal team argued in court that they accepted no money from the boy and had served only as his travel companions. In its judgment on Thursday the Supreme Court found that the trio had “the closest humanitarian reasons” behind their actions and had not planned the trip in advance.

The child has since been granted permanent residence in Sweden and has started school.

Önnevall said he was still in contact with the boy, who now speaks Swedish, and that he has never regretted his decision.

READ ALSO: Journalist 'confident' he was right to help refugee boy

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