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Terror suspect Swedes freed from Pakistan

Published: 10 Oct 2009 11:18 GMT+02:00
Updated: 10 Oct 2009 11:18 GMT+02:00

The Swedish foreign ministry has confirmed that four Swedish citizens, arrested in Pakistan in August as terrorist suspects, have been released and put on a flight to Stockholm.

The group include Mehdi Ghezali, who spent two years in Guantánamo Bay following his 2001 arrest in Afghanistan, as well as 28-year-old Munir Awad and 19-year-old Safia Benaouda, and their two and a half-year-old boy.

"I can confirm that they have been released," Cecilia Julin, head of press at the Foreign Ministry told news agency TT.

The ministry has yet to receive a formal statement from the Pakistani authorities on the release. "We interpret it that they have come to the conclusion that there is not enough evidence to hold them," Julin added.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Benaouda and her son were to be released “shortly" following a meeting between Pakistan’s Minister of the Interior Rehman Malik and Swedish Ambassador in Islamabad Ulrika Sundberg.

Malik, who is in charge of Pakistan’s police force, said on Tuesday that he would receive a report about the detained Swedes on Wednesday, at which time he would made a decision about their fate as soon as possible.

The Swedes have been detained since August 28th when they were arrested in northern Pakistan, along with seven Turks, an Iranian, a Russian, and one Pakistani, according the police.

The police reported that the group were found in a prohibited area near a nuclear power facility.

Police suspect the group was on its way to rendezvous with representatives from the Taliban in southern Waziristan, long considered a Taliban stronghold.

One of the Swedes claimed the group was in fact on its way to a meeting with a Muslim revivalist movement in the city of Lahore.

It took until September 16th for Swedish authorities to receive formal confirmation that the Swedes had in fact been arrested.

Lawyer Anton Strand, who is representing on of the men, received notification today that his client had been freed.

“Those who have worked with the case are relieved that it has been handled this way," he said.

"No evidence or formal suspicions have been made against my client other than a recent issue over his visa, that he entered the country without sufficient papers.”

The group was released on Saturday morning and were accompanied to the airport by the Swedish ambassador.

No information have been given as to their expected arrival time in Sweden.

”Our responsibility stops at the airport in Pakistan and they travel home on their own accord," Julin said.

"It is up to them if they want to give out information on when and where they land.”

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:58 October 10, 2009 by flintis
I agree with releasing the child, it cannot be held responsible & should not suffer because of the idiot parents.

Who paid for their trip to Pakistan? I'm working & would struggle to find both the money & time to make the journey.

More to these people than meets the eye, very very suspicious behavior.
13:01 October 10, 2009 by coolguy09
This is clear evidence of foreign invovlement turmoil in Pakistan
13:18 October 10, 2009 by usgepo
Let me guess we probably will pay for the flight costs out of our taxes, let this idiots stay over there, what are they doing there to begin with?

Their allegiances are obviously not Swedish, Sweden is merely a vehicle and a base where this people take advantage of the benefits provided by the country use it to finance their illicit activities!

It´s is quite obvious there is funding and support from groups here and elsewhere to fuel terrorist activities.

Why can´t he Swedish authorities stop being so naïve?
13:56 October 10, 2009 by sherkovic
why cant people stop being naive here. If they are released it means that they are innocent and have nothing to do with terrorism.

Do people in sweden think that if these people were involved at all in any hanky panky then the pakistani government would let them go so easily??

No never....just like the over 1000 inmates of guantanamo these people were also innocent and have nothing to do with terrorism. Remember there are still over 200 people that have gone into forced illegal disappearence by pakistani secret service authorities without any official record or without any charge sheet given against these people in any court of the law. Does this sound logical and democratic at all?? this is totally nonsense, unconstitutional, unhuman and undemocratic....Let us come forward and condemn the REAL TERRORISTS and not the innocent people without any charge or formal conviction.

However the funniest thing is that...instead of condemning the act of illegal detention of many of these people by both pakistani and the US authorities....you guys have started to condemn the innocent people. People be rational and think...think before you pass out any judgment. Every individual is innocent until proven guilty or is it the other way round these days? think hard!!

//peace
14:08 October 10, 2009 by Gwrhyr
Unfortunately people really do think that way these days, Sherkovic... as much as as we like to think we live in an enlightened age, we still have the masses clamoring "Burn the witch on the stake!" before seeing any proof of anything.
15:19 October 10, 2009 by here for the summer
@sherkovic being released positively does not mean they are innocent. Especially when they are released under pressure from and perhaps under inducement ( payoffs, aide etc ) from a western country.

As too illegal detention .. They positively did not have visas for Pakistan and that is illegal in pakistan. It has been alleged they had detonators. I wish I trusted the Swedish government more to investigate the facts but here we are.
16:12 October 10, 2009 by krow
Hope the child was not used as cover up. Beside it is very hard to tell what took them to that area of unrest and the planned meetings thereof. Once a terrorist I would say always a terrorist. or Have you seen any repented one?
16:57 October 10, 2009 by voiceofreason
Bring them home babe. Sweden is just about to suffer the same fate as France.

If they loved Islam so much, they should not come to a kafir nation where they will have to eat non-halal meat and contaminate their eyes with haram dress-code.
17:01 October 10, 2009 by Puffin
4 "terror" suspects according to this story yet the number includes a 2 year old baby - hope TL is not including a 2 year old as a "terror suspect"

For those of you worried about your tax kronor - the Embassy has denied paying for the return trip

The mother of Safia Benouda says that she personally paid for her daughter and grandchild's tickets home
17:19 October 10, 2009 by Per Johansson52
some many racists are upset for their release!

You racist idiots should know when Media use the word "Suspect" it does not mean that He /she or the little baby (awww) is terroris, or if anybody travel to Asia they are connected with Alquida .

You guys pay tax and yet can not afford to buy a ticket? I wonder what kind of tax you are paying ? paying tax for your practical jobs haahha OMG.

when it comes to Asian family they are not like us, if one has the money they share it with all family members. they are very united unlike us where wife and husband pay their mcDonald share . I am still thinking what tax you guys pay?
17:52 October 10, 2009 by LaQueen
well put sherkovic...

Thanks & peace!
18:38 October 10, 2009 by DreEstwd
Yeah, there's no reason to suspect this guy of anything at all. He was in Guantanamo for a few years, then picked up in Waziristan...nothing suspicious about him whatsoever....people are just racist. LOL. PC Idiots....ruining your own country fast.
19:09 October 10, 2009 by coolguy09
Dear sherkovic out of your hatred you lost logic , do you know the CIA has cells across EUROPE which EU has acknowledged last year. Nobody asks for illegal methods europian agencies use in cells in europe, FYI the number of detainees as per EU public statement run to thoushands .

I must say that its inefficiency on part of swedish security forces to monitor a nasty person , who lands himself in trouble always first in Guantanamo and than near sensitive area in Pakistan. what his motives are , For local and swedish people dont treat him as hero .
19:46 October 10, 2009 by sherkovic
@coolguy and others; well buddies this is where you guys lost your cool. You know what? you are conditioned to hate ppl who look different from you. So If a guy had a beard and is devoted muslim and caught up in the so called sensitive area of pakistan, without any concrete evidence proof and you start beating about the bush.

The people are claimed to be picked up by the police from the sensitive areas. This sensitive area in pakistan is a city called Dera Ismael Khan. There are thousands of ppl already living there and the nuclear facilities are quite far from their.

2ndly they were never accused of carrying any detonators instead they were accused of carrying several passports, 10,000 dollars and a laptop. Pakistan's information secretary Rehman Malik has admitted that these people have nothing with them to make them a terrorist it was just that one of the guy hasn't got the visa and he entered pakistan from the Iranian borders. Even in that case that is an immigration crime and no one has rights to call these ppl terrorist.

Finally, this guy was there for 2 years and is released WITHOUT ANY CHARGES.
21:49 October 10, 2009 by AjayK
A pity they will be returning to Sweden.

Wish they would stay behind in the Islamic Paradise of Pakistan!
21:54 October 10, 2009 by Per Johansson52
@ DreEstwd

why he was released if he was a terrorist?

There are 100 innocents are in Guantanamo . US took all guys to Guantanamo because they thought they did 9-11. and Bush fooled ppl that it was Taliban who did it. IT WAS BUSH HIMSELF WHO KILLED MANY MUSLIMS IN WTC as well.
22:32 October 10, 2009 by here for the summer
@per johansson52 ( code name ? ) your last comment identifies you as the ignorant person or worse terrorist supporter and deliberate liar. Osama Bin Laden himself confessed and bragged about training the terrorists who attacked the WTC from Afganistan and the Taliban government was given a chance to turn him over and close the terrorist training bases before being attacked. Which they refused. These "Swedes" have been caught now in many terrorist occupied areas ( google them) . It is not an accident and it is a threat to other countries to give these people a free base in Sweden from which to plan attacks and support terrorists.
22:33 October 10, 2009 by HejHej
@ AjayK... Orissa, Gujrat, Assam, Kashamir, Nexal... google these cities , see the love and care ppl getting in these areas and then comment on others...
04:14 October 11, 2009 by magic1964
Don´t they love welfaristan ???
04:39 October 11, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer
Ha ha. That made me laugh, magic!

Lets get the facts:

1. One of these fools ended up in Guantanamo, captured by the US/afghan forces and turned over to the US in the warring area of afghanistan in 2001.

2. US released him, he went back to Sweden, his professed allegiance.

3. Sweden released him and cleared him into society.

4. Somehow, this 'swede' ends up in a military checkpoint with a bunch of turks, iranians and russians. (not a coicidence by the way)

5. They tell authorities they are going to teach at a muslim school in Waziristan

6. Swedish foreign office bargains for thier release.

7. Niether innocent or gulity, he finds his way back to Stockholm.

I love the ignorance of people thinking that swedish laws follow this 'swede' to pakistan, and somehow charges of 'racism' get thrown into the mix. Simply draw a line between items 1 through 7. Chances are, he's not up to something good, and should be treated as such.

My opinion is, the swedish state got caught with thier pants down. They should have kept tabs on this guy like the local child molester. As soon as they scanned his passport upon departure, they should have notified the CIA. It amazes me that Sweden would extend consular assistance to this guy (which costs money by the way) at a great exposure of thier own. Grow a spine and cut these guys off. Time and time again, sweden finds themselves between a rock (being progressively righteous) and a hard place (reality) when it comes to immigration, defense and other official goverment matters.
05:15 October 11, 2009 by Greg in Canada
So these "Swedes" are returning home. Fellow Swedish citizens must be really happy.
08:54 October 11, 2009 by usgepo
It does not matter if it is Sweden, France, Spain, UK, wherever! Some of these people want the convenience and welfare of the states which out of kindness and stupidity provide assylum, for them and yet want to change values, morals, religion, and the western way of life of the people whom have kindly provided for them in the first place.

Provide me with shelter, feed me, educate me, integrate me into society, give me nationality, build me a moske, then I spit on your face, and I will demonize the way you live, go fight a stupid religios war eslewhere, endorse, fund and help terrror and try to change your way of life.

Talk about bitting the hand that feeds you!

Obviously there are many genuine families which contribute to society and integrate well, one can´t generalize, the example is for the cowards who use the nationality and welfare of a western nation and yet fight against it´s very core!
12:53 October 11, 2009 by Beynch
Based on media reports these people are not `Swedes`. They are citizens of other countries, carrying swedish passports out of convenience. The Swedish passport is rapidly losing its credence, and one reason we recently had a US delegation visiting the Swedish government, is to lay the groundwork to reintroduce the visa requirement for travel to the US. Sweden, based on her laissez-faire immigration policies is no longer considered a `safe` nation. So prepare yourselves for a lot mor obstacles before you cross the Atlantic. Thank you Sossepatrasket!
13:26 October 11, 2009 by here for the summer
@puffin they might not have paid the flight this time although last time they paid dearly 500k dollars and Swedish citizens did pay by sending high level government officials to pressure for their release. This also uses up political capital so next time a Swede is arrested overseas maybe for something more Swedish like drinking or having sex without being married ( both illegal in all Islamic countries and people have been stoned to death for these crimes ).

Plus as @Magic1964 points out the one thing terror suspects and radical imams in the west seem to share is their near universal dependence on welfare .

So even if they Swedish Krona didn't pay for the flights this has cost Swedes dearly.

BTW: this is what the people they went to Pakistan to meet are doing

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20091011/ap_on_re_as/as_pakistan
20:25 October 11, 2009 by izbz
Greg in Canada, if these swedes are innocent I am sure alot of us will be happy but since they are dumb, I don't think we are happy. Maybe you are since you are not paying taxes to Swedan.
22:39 July 19, 2012 by Rishonim
Swedish born Mehdi Ghezali has been identified as the suicide bomber in Bulgaria

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4258021,00.html
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