The smuggling sequence was reported to the authorities by a number of viewers, but Önnevall was adamant in that he had not broken the law, having acted for "humanitarian reasons." However, the road to hell is paved with good intentions and the fact that he obviously meant well has not spared him from investigation. Malmö Prosecutor Kristina Amilon accused Önnevall of human trafficking together with two of his colleagues.
In 2015, when the migrant crisis reached his peak, many Swedes were reported to use their cars and boats to smuggle asylum-seekers arriving from Denmark via the Øresund Strait, with thematic Facebook groups mushrooming on both sides of the straight, Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported. The clandestine humanitarian activity started to wane with the introduction of border controls at the beginning of 2016. However, humanitarian organizations, such as Danish Medmenneskesmuglerne, whose members are also on trial for human trafficking, reportedly work on bypassing ID checks, which supposedly restrict the right to asylum.
"I felt that I, as a fellow human being, must help a boy who was in a tremendously difficult situation in which he risked life and limbs. I made that decision I have never regretted," a proud Fredrik Önnevall told Swedish Radio.
Unsurprisingly, SVT admittedly still has confidence in the accused employees, Micael Lekberg, a program director and publisher at SVT in Malmö, told Swedish Radio.
"We have great respect and understanding for Fredrik and his team, who chose to help [the boy] in this situation, where a child pleads for help," Micael Lekberg told Swedish Radio.
Previous surveys revealed that SVT journalists had much stronger sympathies for left-wing parties, such as the Left Party and the Green Party, compared with the rest of their compatriots. In February, a survey by pollster YouGov revealed that Swedish media in general had the strongest leftist bias in Europe. In particular, four out of ten Swedes argued that the media gave a "too left-angled" view of reality.