Swedish peace protestors sentenced over warplane vandalism

swedeish-fighterThree Swedish peace activists from the group Avrusta (Disarm), whose mission is to stop Sweden from exporting weapons, have been sentenced to prison for their attempt to destroy three warplanes in March. According to Sveriges Radio (SR), the would-be saboteurs were given between four and six months in jail and ordered to pay Saab 150,000 kronor in damages.

On 22 March, Annika Spalde, Pelle Strindlund, and Martin Smedjeback cut through a fence surrounding the Saab Aerospace Systems’ Linkoping facility and entered a secure area with the intent of destroying three Saab Gripen fighter jets.

The Local reports that after the three activists entered the complex they observed a minute of silence for victims of global poverty, then tried to enter the hangar where three Gripen planes were housed. Armed with sledgehammers, the three had planned to beat the million-dollar fighter jets to an unusable state.

However, their plans were thwarted when an alarm went off while trying to break into the hangar. When a guard arrived, the three activists quickly surrendered.

The three Gripen jets were bound for South Africa and Thailand. During their trial, the activists argued that their actions were justifiable, as they wanted to prevent the jets from going to nations in conflict. However, neither Thailand nor South Africa is in the midst of any major war.

The court rejected their argument, basing their decision on a looser description of self defence. Instead, the court sided with the prosecutors and convicted them all for attempted sabotage.