A female Swedish priest and another woman have been found guilty of smuggling an asylum seeker out of a migrant detention centre by hiding him in a large suitcase.
The Gävle district court found the two women guilty on Friday for their role in helping to smuggle a migrant from a deportation facility.
The defence lawyer for one of the women, Anna Wahlström, said her client, who was sentenced to probation and daily fines, may appeal, broadcaster Sveriges Radio reports.
On February 23rd, 2020, the priest arrived at the deportation facility with a large suitcase, which she claimed carried objects used in adult baptisms.
Swedish Priest Accused of Smuggling Migrant Out of Detention in Suitcase https://t.co/pR7wafVABV
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 15, 2020
Director-General of the Migration Board Mikael Ribbenvik later accused the priest of using the suitcase to smuggle a migrant out of the facility to avoid deportation.
In a letter to the Church of Sweden Archbishop Antje Jackelén, Mr Ribbenvik wrote: “A priest has abused our trust. In normal cases, you can’t bring a bag, but they [had our] confidence and then this exemption was made. We’ve been tricked.”
In February 2021, when charges were brought against the two women, broadcaster SVT noted that the migrant they had freed had not been found.
The incident is not the first time members of the Church of Sweden have come into conflict with authorities regarding asylum-seekers set for deportation.
In 2017, the church criticised police for raiding a church-sponsored migrant hostel looking for migrants who were in the country illegally.
Malmö priest Per Kristiansson commented on the police raid at the time, saying: “Formally, they are correct. But we claim that the church must be a protected place for all people, and especially people who for are some reason on the run.”