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'Swedes did not commit crime against America'

Published: 24 Dec 2012 10:17 GMT+01:00

The two Swedes, aged 27 and 29, appeared in a federal court in Brooklyn, New York on Friday on charges that they had trained and fought with Somali group al-Shabaab.

It is not clear why the case is being brought in the United States. The FBI claims they are "real terrorists".

The 29-year-old's lawyer said that the defendants have not committed any crimes against America.

"American authorities believe that al-Shabaab, which has been designated as terrorists by the United States, propagates its activities on the internet and therefore 'affects American foreign trade'. In that case more or less anything falls within American jurisdiction," lawyer Ephraim Savitt told the TT news agency.

He confirmed that the Swedes were recruited by al-Shabaab but claims that they were on the run from the militant organization at the time of their arrest in Djibouti last summer.

According to the New York Times, the two Swedes and a 23-year-old man who was controversially stripped of his British citizenship this year were on their way to Yemen.

The men were extradited to the United States after a series of interrogations by FBI and others.

According to Savitt, the Swedish Foreign Ministry was notified already at the time of the arrest in Djibouti.

"But I am not aware of any specific efforts made by Swedish authorities," he said.

Representatives of the Swedish Consulate in New York have visited the Swedes on at least one occasion.

Both are of Somali origin and hold Swedish citizenship.

"I can't go into any detail about our conversation or what they asked for," said Charlotta Ozaki Macias, a Swedish Foreign Ministry spokeswoman.

The men appeared in the Brooklyn court together with the 23-year-old Brit. They were aided by a Swedish interpreter.

If found guilty, they could face up to 30 years in prison.

According to Over Bring, Professor Emeritus in public international law, countries can charge individuals who have committed crimes abroad if they are believed to jeopardize national interests.

"It is a question of evidence, how concrete this threat against US security is and if it is a credible argument," Bring told TT.

"In today's climate, I can't help but suspect that this would work in an US court."

The men are accused of participating in weapons and explosives training with al-Shabaab during a four-year period beginning in 2008.

Court documents show no connection between the alleged crimes and the United States, the New York Times reported.

TT/The Local/nr Follow The Local on Twitter

Your comments about this article

10:50 December 24, 2012 by fmb
UD should not move a finger, not even pay for deportation costs, the men of such extremist profile are highly undesirable in Sweden
12:31 December 24, 2012 by frenchviking
If they actually were part of a terrorist organisation, then i don't care if their action had direct impact to the us... I really don't want them near me...

At least the us dare to do something about it...
14:02 December 24, 2012 by eddie123
the British authorities were correct is stripping the said 23 year old of his citizenship and Sweden should do the same. if you leave your country of birth for greener pasture but on securing a new lease on life, you prefer to go back and join the same extremist groups of which you hitherto had ran away from, you do not deserve to hold citizenship of the latter country. this is the simple truth. citizenship for foreign born nationals must not be irrevocable. where serious crimes are committed, such citizenship must be revoke and the perpetrator deported on completion of their prison term.
18:49 December 24, 2012 by Kaethar
It's hard to say much about this when we really don't know the details. WHY exactly are they in the US if they've been fighting in Somalia?

As for the stripping of citizenship I don't think that applies in this case. It's stated that they are "of Somali origin" rather than "immigrants from Somalia" - implying that if they are immigrants they've been in Sweden for a while. And the fact that they asked for a Swedish interpreter rather than a Somali one shows that they do speak Swedish. So for all we know they were born in Sweden or came to Sweden at a very young age. You can't just strip such people of citizenship.

I support such methods only if a person is naturalized as an adult - since they are then not at all products of Swedish society anything highly illegal they do goes against their "vows" in naturalizing. Children of course take no such vows.

This story is definitely weird but if they are a terrorist threat I hope they are dealt with accordingly.
21:18 December 24, 2012 by prince T
That is the funny thing about these pple. They come here running away from their terrorist rulers. . After they have eaten our food and gotten our citizenship, they remember we are infidels. They did not notice that in the begining.

If they are really serios, they should go and fight injustice in their home country before helping us to correct our own. Ungrateful pple. When they want to commit their terror acts they are not swedes but wen they are caught they remember they are.
23:27 December 24, 2012 by Orangemen
"Swedes" LOL.
11:01 December 25, 2012 by Russ Cobleigh
Both are of Somali origin and hold Swedish citizenship., therefore not technically Swedes!
11:49 December 25, 2012 by omash kavash
prince t what food do u give you dummy u can barelt afford 3 meals on ur own
12:10 December 25, 2012 by johan rebel
Swedes? Swedes?!? Come on, gimme a break here!

Ali Yasin Ahmed and Mohamed Yusuf are as Swedish as the average pangolin, regardless of the nationality of their passport.
12:33 December 25, 2012 by fareasttiger
How about this...The Islamic Kingdom of Sweden? Or The Islamic Republic of Sweden? They both sound just right don't they? It looks like the wild weeds are going to eat over the delicate indoor flowers very soon, one way or the other...
01:16 December 27, 2012 by Monica Williams
Ok...Now let see how do they like to be trow in one of the worse jails house in America...Their jail mates will teach them a thing or two about good citizenship..!!!...God bless my country...Enough of garbage already...!!!
19:49 December 29, 2012 by ButterFlyStorm
This is just like the USA to determine the rights of people from other countries by their 'ideals' of right and wrong. It would be foolish of Sweden to back the USA in any manner in this. Usually the outcome of a trial of this sort in the USA has been predetermined and the truth is likely not to surface. It is only right for Sweden to step in and to take these young men home and to determine themselves, via Swedish law and Swedish courts if these men were complicit in terror on any level.

Nor, can it be determined that joining sides in a fight is a form of terror just because the USA does not agree with that side of the coin in these conflicts. It's time that the countries of our world decided themselves what is right or wrong and to not slither behind the USA which is the biggest terrorist, by far, in our world.

http://butterflystorms.blog.ca
00:27 December 30, 2012 by james7
ButterFlyStorm, you need to go back to the terrorist country that you came from. It is bums like you that bring terrorism to Sweden and the US.
23:57 January 1, 2013 by Viking25Razor
Boy! I sure like this clean, prosperous, well educated country that gave me citizenship!! Hmmm...How shall I repay that generosity??? Ah yes, Take up arms and Kill them!!!!!! Swedes? Really?
11:56 January 2, 2013 by robban70226
Islamic Kingdom of Sweden?

Sounds correct...
07:48 January 3, 2013 by Gjeebes
Generosity? In Sweden; gimme a break. Sweden imports loads of refugees as a cheap labour source. All thye Janters are told the story of humanitarian progress, while looking down their noses at all the foreigners doing the dirty jobs Swedes don't want to do. You guys want to bring in a cheap, uneducated labour force to do all your dirty work, fine. But don't bitch about the consequences that you create for yourselves by doing so.
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