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Syria 'monitoring' exiles in Sweden: envoy

Published: 26 Mar 2012 11:00 GMT+02:00
Updated: 26 Mar 2012 11:00 GMT+02:00

Former Syrian ambassador to Sweden, Mohammad Bassam Imadi, has revealed that the Syrian government was spying on Syrian exiles in Sweden during his time in office.

Imadi, who worked as ambassador in Sweden from 2005 to 2008, fled Syria in 2011 for Turkey, after claiming that he was no longer safe in the country.

He is currently visiting Stockholm as a member of the foreign committee in opposition of Syria’s national council, according to daily Expressen.

On Monday, Imadi told Swedish media that the Stockholm embassy was ”observing” Syrian dissidents living in Sweden and "monitoring" them so they could be jailed on return to Syria.

“A diplomat from the embassy used to send reports on the dissidents to the Secret Services in Syria. They then sent the reports to me so I could verify them. I used to either say to the Secret Service that the reports were not true or I ignored them,” Imadi told the newspaper.

He claimed that the situation was something that was usually a designated job of one individual.

“Usually there is someone at each embassy who’s responsible for this. In Sweden there was a diplomat who made sure that people who were considered to be dissidents were monitored,” he told Dagens Nyheter (DN).

Imadi described how “ordinary people” would work as informants, giving information to a diplomat outside of the embassy in return for money or benefits upon return to Syria.

When asked as to whether he thinks the espionage still occurs today, Imadi said he is convinced it does.

“It must do, there is always someone at the embassy with this function. It is an important job at the embassy,” he told DN.

Meanwhile, he claims that Sweden can help combat the regime in Syria by providing humanitarian assistance through Sweden’s good contacts and high influence with the EU.

However, the goal is clear, according to Imadi, who told DN what he considered to be the most important focus right now:

“To ensure the regime in Syria disappears and that democracy can be introduced, and that the country can become free so everyone can live there with dignity and without being harassed by security forces.”

The Local/og (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

12:07 March 26, 2012 by gpafledthis
From far afar !! It appears that swedish "intelligence" should be privatized and subcontracted to IKEA !! More bang for your buck !!
12:16 March 26, 2012 by karex
Not surprising. I expect that we would be hard pressed to find any country who does not spy on it's own citizens abroad, on one level or another and for different reasons.
12:56 March 26, 2012 by tendance
@gpafledthis

In Sweden some one must come up as a witness if investigation must go on with any chances of succes
13:59 March 26, 2012 by asteriks
Cheap propaganda, all countries do it through their embassies as karex said. Beside it, problem is that asylum seekers are deported back if they don't become spies for Sweden or for other western country where they ask for it. So, yes, ALL people who got right to stay in Sweden on the basis of political asylum are now Swedish spies. That's quite enough big reason to be spied by their own country, they sold themselves for money and normal life in Sweden. It is the same with Iranians who got political asylum, they never speak about breaking of human rights in the country where they got political asylum, they speak only about breaking of human rights in their home country. So, that's their job, that's why they got political asylum, they are used by western propaganda. Western countries misuse human rights issue to make war and colonize other countries.

And if you ask yourself why Sweden mix itself in colonialism, here is the answer: Over half of Sweden's government ministers have shares in investment funds that put money into Sweden-based oil giant Lundin Petroleum. 13 of Sweden's 24 ministers own shares in funds that finance Lundin Petroleum. Among those involved are prime minister Fredrick Reinfeldt, foreign minister Carl Bildt and EU minister Birgitta Ohlsson. Lundin Petroleum has come under fire on several occasions, notably after they allegedly broke international law with crimes against humanity in South Sudan between 1997 and 2003. Some blogs say that Carl Bildt was sitting in board of Lundin Petroleum in that time. They all profit from war for oil although they make propaganda it is war for protection of human rights.
15:13 March 26, 2012 by Greysuede
Luft ! They will tell this for millenniums!
01:36 March 27, 2012 by phil23456
we'll someone has to monitor them, Sweden doesn't
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