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Danish Couple Fined £5,000 For Giving Syrian Family A Ride, Coffee, And Biscuits

Campaigner Lisbeth Zornig told BuzzFeed News she was "very angry" at the court's decision.

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A high-profile children's rights campaigner in Denmark and her husband have been fined under human-trafficking laws for giving a lift to a Syrian family.

Lisbeth Zornig / Via Twitter: @LisbethZornig

The Syrian family were invited back to Zornig's home, where they had coffee and biscuits.

Lisbeth Zornig, the country's former children's ombudsman, and her husband were fined 22,500 Danish krone (£2,340) each, the maximum possible amount, by a court in southern Denmark.

Last September Zornig was driving along a busy highway when she stopped to allow one Syrian family among many making their way through Europe to get in.

They came with her back to her home, where her husband gave them coffee and biscuits before driving them to a train station and buying them tickets to Sweden.

Under Denmark's Aliens Act, which predates the refugee crisis, it is illegal to transport people without residence permits.

"I'm very angry," Zornig told BuzzFeed News after being fined.

"My husband and I did the only decent thing we could do. They needed a lift; we did what hundreds of other people would do."

Denmark's centre-right government has been attempting to deter refugees and migrants, passing new laws earlier this year giving authorities the power to seize money and jewellery from asylum-seekers to cover its expenses.

Jeg vil ikke at provokere. Men når man møder små trætte mennesker som de her, der er flygtet fra Syrien handler man

Children asleep in the car after being given a lift.

Since last September, around two people every day have been prosecuted for helping refugees, Line Søgaard of the Welcome to Denmark group told us.

She said the prosecution of Zornig for what amounted to just an act of kindness "says it all".

"She did nothing that is a crime," Søgaard said. "The law was made for organised criminals and she definitely isn't [one]."

Søgaard, whose group was set up during the refugee crisis to help deliver clothes, food, and other support to people, said she was "hurt" by the actions of the Danish government, which was trying to make the country as "unattractive as possible" to asylum-seekers.

But she said ordinary Danes were still sympathetic to refugees, with a support group called Venligboerne ("Friendly Neighbours") having 150,000 members.

Matthew Champion is a weekend editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Matthew Champion at matthew.champion@buzzfeed.com.

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