March 18, 2009

Christian peacemakers jailed for smashing weapons

by David Masters

Two Swedish Christian peacemakers have been given a four month jail sentence for breaking into an arms factory and using a hammer to smash up weapons.

Martin Smedjeback, 35, and Anna Andersson, 27, broke into the Saab Bofors factory in October last year and disabled fourteen Carl Gustaf bazookas following their training with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT).

Smedjeback and Andersson explained in court that they had taken the action to uphold the Swedish government’s ban on supplying arms to countries at war.

The judge sentenced the two activists to four months in prison, but dismissed Saab’s claim for €120,000 in damages.

Smedjeback, a nonviolence trainer, said: “Saab Bofors Dynamics delivers grenade launchers to the US military, which uses them in Iraq among other places.

“I am ready to be imprisoned if necessary to hinder arms exports that cause so much suffering and death.”

Andersson, a web designer, added: “It is my duty to intervene due to the gross criminal damage and death that Saab causes around the world.

“Others who get in the way of Swedish weaponry, for example in Iraq and Afghanistan, pay a substantially higher price.”

Around 1,000 international and Swedish supporters pledged support for their actions in a Facebook group devoted to the case.

As well as belonging to CPT, Smedjeback and Andersson are members of the Swedish network Avrusta (Disarm), dedicated to nuclear disarmament and demilitarisation.

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