• Sweden edition
 
Warrant issued for 'tortured' US Muslim seeking asylum in Sweden

Warrant issued for 'tortured' US Muslim seeking asylum in Sweden

Published: 09 May 2012 08:13 GMT+02:00
Updated: 09 May 2012 08:13 GMT+02:00

According to recently filed court documents, Yonas Fikre, a 33-year-old Muslim who is a naturalized US citizen, is suspected of being involved in wire transfers of large sums of money designed to skirt US reporting requirements, US news website msnbc.com reports.

Fikre is currently in Sweden awaiting a decision on his application filed for political asylum after having been imprisoned in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) where he claims he was tortured for 106 days at the request of American government agents.

The US government indictment accuses Fikre, his brother, and another man of wanting to "conceal from the United States their connection to the money transfers" totaling around $75,000.

The US believes that Fikre deliberately "structured" a series of wire transfers by sending amounts less than $10,000 in order to avoid having to report the transfers to the federal government.

Fikre's US-based attorney rejected the charges against his client, however.

"Frankly, I think its retaliation and retribution," he told msnbc.com, adding that Firke had previously been questioned about the transfers by FBI agents in April 2010.

In mid-April. Fikre went public with allegations that he suffered illegal torture and imprisonment in the UAE at the behest of the FBI.

"He told me to lie down on the floor and he started beating the soles of my feet," he said in a video clip published on the YouTube channel of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), an advocacy group for American Muslims which has supported Fikre throughout his ordeal.

He claims to have been tortured for 106 days, in what he described to the AP news agency as the most isolating experience of his life.

In addition to having his bare feet beaten, Fikre claims to have been kicked and punched and sprayed with a fire hose.

"It wasn't actual FBI agents who tortured him, they were private contractors," his Swedish lawyer Hand Bredberg told The Local at the time Fikre went public, adding that the prison where his client was held was "a few hundred metres" from the US embassy.

After being released from his captors in September, Fikre came to Sweden because some distant relatives from Eritrea live here.

Since then, Fikre has been in Sweden while his asylum application has been processed, something Bredberg said has taken longer than usual.

TT/AFP/The Local

Follow The Local on Twitter

Your comments about this article

08:48 May 9, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
Well it looks like this gent heard from friends where you can go in the world as a criminal and get asylum guaranteed.
09:18 May 9, 2012 by J Jack
defame the FBI an they will surely take note of it.
10:30 May 9, 2012 by 4thGenWarrior
The FBI does not interrogate anyone overseas. His accounting of the so-called torture he faced does NOT represent the methods used by any agents of any US agency. Private contractors are trained by the US government therefore they will utilize simliar methodolgies. The US does not use "feet beating" or hosings. The US uses overfeeding, underfeeding, darkness, sleep deprivation, noise confusion, hardcore porn and a host of other non-torture methods LONG BEFORE they resort to waterboarding. Even waterboarding is used as a last resort for information of great import, not as a first resort. He story does not pass muster.

Another American Muslim was tried, convicted and imprisoned for exactly the same reason long before this numbnut and he was never tortured nor taken overseas and tortured. And that guy was a college professor, higher up on the food chain- someone possibly worthy of enhanced interrogation, but he was not.

So we are to believe that this guy was taken to another country and tortured to what end? Then he was released and his ajudicated cancelled...or is he simply seeking political asylum to escape conviction in the US?

I think it is the latter rather than the former.
10:35 May 9, 2012 by RobinHood
Transferring large amounts of money out of the US without going through the proper process is against the law. So is arranging for someone to be tortured. I hope both alleged crimes are investigated equally thoroughly and, if found guilty, the defendants punished proportionately.
10:39 May 9, 2012 by jimmyjames
The Swedes are going to taking in all these types of people and it is going to reach a tipping point wherein something extremely tragic is going to happen on Swedish soil and sadly a lot of Swedes will lose their lives. In addition to the increased levels of violence that is documented around where all these refugees live Sweden is going to start loosing huge portions of its cultural, ethnic, racial and religious identity. If you think this is not possible just look to Germany, France and the UK where refugee/immigrant numbers have reached a level(s) that is already destabilizing the social, religious, and electoral foundations of these countries.

Actually, the Japanese do the intelligent,compassionate, humanitarian action(s) that helps and protects. They send monetary, medical, technilogical and food to the people and places its needed BUT THEY NEVER EVER ALLOW NON-JAPANESE TO IMMIGRATE TO JAPAN !! They make no apologies and will tell critics Japan has been inhabitated by Japanese for thousands of years and that is exactly how it will be for another thousand........so, now, where would you like for us to send this aid.
10:49 May 9, 2012 by bourgeoisieboheme
I love reading this article and comments... I worked in the US government and I was in our foreign countries in the middle east and asia and I can tell you, FBI does not have a mandate to be interrogating people in foreign countries. This guy is full of BS and is making up a sob story so he can move to Sweden and get away from the financial troubles he is having. Sad thing is, the Swedish government will believe him, give him a flat, and then he will continue funneling money for what ever illegal activity it was that put him on the US governments radar in the first place.
10:58 May 9, 2012 by medicinem4n
I can't believe the comments here. I didn't think anyone would be gullible enough to believe these obvious fabrications by the FBI. Soneone accuses the FBI of torture and suddenly, an arrest warrant appears on charges of illegal money wiring. How convenient.

As for the people saying the immigrant's story is untrue because the US doesn't have a mandate to torture people abroad: yeah, 'cause we all know the US never does anything illegal abroad. Secret CIA prisons in Eastern Europe, anyone? Spy drones over Iran? Drop the naïvety please...
11:24 May 9, 2012 by umeåstar
I was also tortured by the government when I lived in the states. Hardest thing to get over.. I mean those school lunches are nasty !
11:31 May 9, 2012 by Rishonim
The Orcs are coming to Hobbit-land
11:55 May 9, 2012 by zooeden
OK so go get him now, proceed with extreme prejudism!!!

That´s the next news I wanna read!!!
12:00 May 9, 2012 by gabeltoon
# jimmyjames I see your point. Britain is loosing all of it's identity already.The process of allowing so many immigrants into the country is all wrong. Stricter control is required plus people who work in immigration have to take their job more seriously and do it properly. What is it about BRITAIN that makes so many people want to get into ???? BRITAIN is such a MUG, immigrants think they can get money, healthcare, housing ect., for free and all for not wanting to contribute towards society. If i were to enter another country and start expecting all the benifits i would be shown the door as soon as possible.I think the authorities in SWEDEN should investigate this guy more before granting asylum.
13:08 May 9, 2012 by B Slick
I dont buy his story at all but all we have to do is look at the way the United States Goverment has been acting in recent years and see that anything is possible.
17:06 May 9, 2012 by Carbarrister
This guys story doesn't hold up. If the US was going to kill or capture him he would already be dead or picked up.

I have worked with and against the FBI in my legal practice for nearly 40 years. The FBI does not operate this way. Unlike the CIA, they are a bunch of Boy Scouts.

If Fikre was funneling money to terrorists he may well have come to the attention of the FBI - at least I hope so. The FBI is plodding but thorough. If Firke had fled to the UAE the FBI probably notified the UAE and requested his extradition.

Firke may have run afoul of the law in the UAE and maybe he was roughed up there.

If he is returned to the US he will be given a lawyer and be tried in Federal Court as an ordinary defendant for a financial crime. If there is evidence that he was sending the money to terrorist groups it would be part of the charge. The potential sentence would be longer if convicted.

If I were representing Firke I would try to conjur up claims torture or persecutions and get CAIR to help with it to avoid having him sent back for trial. It is what lawyers do.

My advice to the Local readers : Don't take the bait.
21:34 May 9, 2012 by bcterry
17:06 May 9, 2012 by Carbarrister ,

"If I were representing Firke I would try to conjur up claims torture or persecutions and get CAIR to help with it to avoid having him sent back for trial. It is what lawyers do.

My advice to the Local readers : Don't take the bait. "

Right on the money.

The first thing that islamic terrorists are taught if they get picked up and charged, is to claim they were tortured.

Their lies flow like water, and i wouldn't believe a word out of the mouth of a jihadist, and they number in the 100s of millions.
21:32 May 10, 2012 by ultra_materialist
hmmm... since 48% of all rapes in Sweden are committed by immigrants with an islamic background. The only think that I can say: bring more and more and more...

And they will rape and will stay 2 years in jail with life standards of kings.

17:06 May 9, 2012 by Carbarrister ,

"If I were representing Firke I would try to conjur up claims torture or persecutions and get CAIR to help with it to avoid having him sent back for trial. It is what lawyers do.

What an useful idiot...
02:13 May 11, 2012 by Jeff10
Totalitarianism always has been and always will be an ever-present threat to freedom-loving people, whether such totalitarianism is crouched in some phony philosophy (e.g., as fascism, communism, socialism, etc.) or some phony religion (e.g., islame).

Freedom lovers have to be ever vigiliant against these threats to their freedom. To this extent, there always has been and always will be a clash of civilizations. The only thing that changes is the villians self label. The good guys are always lovers of freedom.

Freedom means freedom to fail for some and freedom of others to not have to pay for the failure of others.
06:05 July 26, 2012 by sqwimpy
For those people who say that the FBI or it's contractors wouldn't do those type of things are living in a dream world. There is so much that these people do that are along these lines, but are considered Secret. Waterboarding is used often. They were even under investigation during the Bush era for that very practice.

Even if the FBI or it's associates said they didn't, you can't believe what you hear.

Swedes, as a whole, look at the US as being a violent nation, why would this be in question? The US takes pride in this.
Today's headlines
VIDEO: All Saints' Day
Halloween 'boosts' All Saints celebrations
Photo: Cecilia Larsson/imagebank.sweden.se

Halloween 'boosts' All Saints celebrations

The advance of Halloween as a popular holiday in Sweden has increased the popularity of All Saints' Day, contrary to fears when the US-inspired celebration first emerged in Sweden. READ  

Politics
Sweden slammed for racism report omissions

Sweden slammed for racism report omissions

The Swedish government has been criticized by a slew of organisations for omitting a series of notorious cases of discrimination and a general lack of self-criticism in its report to the UN Human Rights Council. READ  

Sport
Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'
Zlatan Ibrahimovic is Sweden's top scorer in history. PHOTO: TT/Maja Suslin

Sweden's star striker Zlatan 'recovering well'

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is recovering well from the nagging heel problem that has stopped him playing for Sweden during its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign. READ  

International
Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir
A shot from the video on YouTube.

Swedish sisters create viral Syria stir

Two sisters from Södertälje near Stockholm are celebrating getting more than 1.3 million hits on YouTube, with a video calling for peace in war-torn Syria. READ  

Pirate Bay
Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison
A 2013 image of Svartholm Warg. Photo: TT

Pirate Bay founder gets three years in prison

Swedish "hactivist" Gottfrid Svartholm Warg has been sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison for hacking crimes. READ  

Royal family
Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback
Princess Madeleine at a previous Nobel banquet. Photo: TT

Princess Madeleine to make Nobel comeback

Sweden's Princess Madeleine is scheduled to appear at the Nobel Festival in Stockholm in December, after taking time out from her royal duties to focus on looking after her daughter. READ  

Politics
'We knew that Israel would be critical'
Foreign Minister Margot Wallström (left), with Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. Photo: TT

'We knew that Israel would be critical'

Sweden's Foreign Minister has told The Local she respects Israel's decision to recall its ambassador after Sweden officially recognized the State of Palestine, and laughed off comments about IKEA furniture made by her Israeli counterpart. READ  

Analysis
'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'
Doctors say we should make the most of the autumn sunshine. Photo: Shutterstock

'Store up your sunlight hours before winter'

Spending time outdoors this autumn will help you survive a cold, dark Swedish winter. Baba Pendse, Head of Psychiatry at Lund University shares his top tips for battling the seasonal blues with The Local. READ  

Sports
Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid
Skiers hit the slopes in Åre, western Sweden. Photo: TT

Plot for shared Scandi Winter Olympic bid

Norwegian sports officials have said they want to co-host the winter Olympics with Sweden in 2026. But there has so far been no official response from Sweden. READ  

National
Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court
Photo: TT

Anti-Israel graffiti 'not a race crime': Court

A teenage boy who painted anti-Israel slogans and symbols on the Concert Hall in Gothenburg has been convicted for the damages he caused, but he walked free from racial agitation charges. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Lifestyle
Stockholm's shocking take on Halloween
Sport
Top ten quotes from Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Business & Money
Get your own office in Gothenburg or Stockholm - free for a day
Gallery
People-watching: October 30th
National
Sweden remains fourth best for gender equality
Blog updates

31 October

Editor’s Blog, October 31st (The Local Sweden) »

"Hello readers, Welcome to our latest 60-second round-up of the week’s news. First, Sweden made headlines around the..." READ »

 

29 October

Scariest day (Blogweiser) »

"This is what’s frightening me on Halloween. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D4OFZVCu8J0&list=UUJu5J7jG4uoYSjWbpFsJBuQ Follow my posts on FB. ..." READ »

 
 
 
National
Timeline: Julian Assange sex allegations
Sport
World Cup ski race on 'fake' Stockholm slope
Society
An Arctic tradition: hunting and handicraft
Society
Stockholm taxis offer free therapy sessions
National
The Local meets Health Minister Gabriel Wikström
Gallery
Property of the week: Österåker
Society
Homeless turtles get Stockholm police ride
National
Construction worker has 'Sweden's best beard'
National
Italian musician jazzes up Sweden's Lapland
Gallery
Zlatan's career in pictures
Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching: October 25th and 26th
Lifestyle
'Swedes are funnier than they think'
National
Swedish town 'like Venice' after heavy rains
Lifestyle
What's On in Sweden: October 24th - 31st
Gallery
People-watching: October 22nd
Gallery
In Pictures: Prince Carl Philip and Sofia Hellqvist
Lifestyle
Eight things to love about renting a Swedish apartment
National
Vasa ship cannon blasted in Sweden
National
Sub hunt: Day-by-day
National
Sub hunt: Stockholm islanders share their fears with The Local
Sponsored Article
The best options for oversea transfers
National
Dentist gives free care to Roma beggars
Gallery
Property of the week: Malmö
Gallery
PHOTOS: 'Foreign activity' in Swedish waters
TT
Society
QUIZ: How good is your Swedish?
Society
The nudity... and nine other things expat men notice in Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 15th
Gallery
Your views: Should outdoor smoking be banned in Sweden?
Business & Money
Sweden has 'large hole' in finances
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Finding a job in Stockholm
Society
Monster salmon caught in northern Sweden
Gallery
Property of the week: Lorensberg
National
Scandinavia's child bride
National
Ebola crisis: How is Sweden preparing?
Business & Money
How Sweden is becoming a cashless society
Gallery
Stockholm Burlesque Festival 2014
National
How a little red horse became a symbol for Sweden
Gallery
People-watching: October 12th
Business & Money
The hottest start-ups from southern Sweden
National
Stockholm is 'best' region for well-being
Sponsored Article
How to catch the first lobster of the year
Team SCA
Sponsored Article
All-female SCA team takes off on Volvo Ocean Race
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

934
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN