Police claim on refugee rides questioned

2:18 min

Police statements suggesting that helping refugees by transporting them prior to their being processed is unlawful have been questioned by legal experts.

Police told Swedish media that it was illegal to give refugees a ride over the Öresund Bridge, connecting the Danish capital of Copenhagen to Sweden's third city of Malmö, and that it was a criminal offence for private individuals to drive refugees from the central station in Malmö to the Migration Agency - or anywhere else before refugees have been registered.

"This is new for people - it has happened so suddenly, but such is the law," says Westford, adding that ignoring the Aliens Act can result in people who give refugees a lift being taken into custody and having their vehicle seized.

"We must act with our hearts, but we can't neglect the law. Volunteer organizations need to let the authorities handle this," police spokesperson Ewa-Gun Westford said.

However, this position was brought into doubt by several legal experts. Speaking to Radio Sweden, lawyer, Viktor Banke said that ferrying refugees to migration offices could not be deemed an offence. 

"In this case, giving a refugee, a foreigner, a lift from the central station, for example to the Migration Board [offices], that is not illegal, and it is strange to see how the police could interpret it in any other way," Banke said.

"You have to [] be on your way through Sweden with the purpose of leaving Sweden to another country for it to be illegal," he added.