The Court of Appeal toughens the punishment for Estonia whistleblowers

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Published 29 March 2023 at 17.38

Law & Justice. The Court of Appeal toughens the punishment from 40 day fines to 80 day fines for journalist Henrik Evertsson and filmmaker Linus Andersson. The duo is sentenced for breach of privacy after their documentary that revealed a hole in the Estonia wreck.

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The Estonia disaster

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    It was on September 23-24, 2019, as diving and filming was carried out at the wreck after Estonia as part of the production of the highly acclaimed documentary film.

    Two Swedish citizens, Henrik Evertsson and Linus Andersson, participated in the activity, which was conducted from a German-flagged vessel and was prosecuted for it.

    The Court of Appeal has made the assessment that the Swedish law that prohibits underwater activities at the wreck of Estonia is not in conflict with principles of international law on the high seas, and that the law is applicable in the case even though the activity was conducted from a German-flagged ship.

    The court determines that the men were guilty of the charged act and, like the district court, finds that the act should not go unpunished with regard to the principles of freedom of expression and information or for other reasons.

    According to the Court of Appeal, the interest in protecting the peace of the grave outweighs the the large number of deaths clearly outweighed the journalistic interest the men had.

    However, the journalistic purpose has been taken into account in a mitigating way when determining the punishment. Similar to the District Court, the Court of Appeal has considered that the men should be sentenced to daily fines, but to a higher number than what the District Court considered. The number of daily fines has therefore been changed from 40 to 80.

    Two of the members of the court differed on the penalty part and wanted to determine the number of daily fines decided by the district court.