• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Sweden spooks red-faced as 'terrorist' freed
The photo of Moder Mothanna Magid distributed to Swedish police on Wednesday and Thursday. Photo: Police

Sweden spooks red-faced as 'terrorist' freed

The Local · 22 Nov 2015, 11:24

Published: 22 Nov 2015 11:24 GMT+01:00

“He is no longer suspected of any crime,” Sweden's national prosecutor's office said in a press release. 
 
The country's Säpo security police on Wednesday arrested Moder Mothanna Magid in absentia, on suspicion of planning a terror attack on Stockholm. At the same time, they raised the terror threat level to “high” for the first time in the country’s history. 
 
On Thursday evening, when Magid was seized in a raid on the asylum accommodation where he had been staying in Boliden, northern Sweden, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven commended the security services for "the speed with which the suspect has been found and arrested”. 
 
On Sunday, Swedish commentators were lambasting Säpo for what looks likely to go down as one of the most embarrassing false alarms in its history.  
 
"A record in incompetence? National alert, press conferences, leaked picture and name. And everything was false!" tweeted Staffan Sonning, Swedish radio's chief economics correspondent. 
 
 
Magid's father Muthanna Majeed, however, said he was overjoyed that his son had been released. 
 
"We have not slept or eaten for three days, but now we are very happy. Thank God!" he said. "This shows that there is justice and democracy in Sweden." 
 
Doubts were already spreading in the Sweden soon after Magid's arrest, after his Facebook profile showed that he had made no efforts whatsoever to hide either his whereabouts or his identity,  despite a highly public national manhunt which saw his photograph published in Sweden's national newspapers. 
 
Deputy chief prosecutor Hans Ihrman, who is leading the investigation, rejected accusations that Säpo had panicked following last week's terror attacks in Paris and Mali. 
 
"I can only underline that the initial information and the evidence which pointed against him, was sufficiently severe that, in any criminal investigation he would be in focus," he said. "It was very concrete information and he was pointed out very clearly. I assume we would have done this with or without what happened in Paris." 
 
He said that since Magid's arrest, analysis of his computer and mobile telephone, together with his own explanation of the incriminating evidence, had convinced police of his innocence.
 
It has, however, not been enough for them to put their investigation to rest. 
 
"There are several circumstances we have to investigate further," he said in his press statement.  "There still remain reason to believe that preparations for a terrorist crime took place". 
Story continues below…
 
Säpo's press chief Sirpa Franzen also dismissed speculation that the arrest was a case of mistaken identity. 
 
"It was not that the wrong person was arrested. There were suspicions that have been completely dismissed, but there remain other unclear circumstances that we are investigating," she told the Expressen newspaper.  
 
Franzen argued that the present high risk of terror attacks meant all security agencies had to constantly assess whether evidence merited actions. 
 
"You are forced to act based on an incomplete picture of the situation, and given the uncertain situation that exists right now, it is likely that Europe and Sweden too must adapt to this type of situation in future," she said. "The police and Säpo will never hesitate to act quickly and resolutely in such a situation." 

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
See Stockholm spectacularly change through the seasons
A bright autumn day in Stockholm. Photo: Delphine Fortin

In order to help her long-distance relationship, one Stockholm-based blogger produced a fascinating visual illustration of the Swedish capital throughout the seasons.

Groped woman had 'gigantic breasts' - player cleared
File image (2010) of Björklöven players in a huddle. Photo: public domain

A former prosector said the reasoning was "absurd" and "illegitimate".

Sweden’s high-speed trains the least punctual in Europe
One of Sweden's high-speed trains during a delay in Stockholm. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

It seems the Swedes are not quite so efficient after all.

Refugee crisis
Asylum seekers leaving Sweden in record numbers
The Swedish Migration Agency offices in Solna. Photo: Marcus Ericsson/TT

The large number of asylum seekers leaving Sweden in 2016 coincides with a dramatic fall in the number seeking asylum in the country compared to last year.

Long-term damage seen from brain injuries: Swedish study
A model of the human brain. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT

A study carried out in Sweden suggests that youths who suffer traumatic brain injuries are more likely to experience long-term psychological and social problems.

The Local List
30 Swedish movies you must see before you die
Thomas Hedegran and Rolf Lassgård in thriller The Hunters. Photo: Photo: Per Pettersson/TT

Film buff Christian Ekvall picks out 30 definitive Swedish movies you must see to understand the soul of the country's cinema.

Malmö police catch car arson suspect in the act
Another car blaze earlier this month. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Malmö police have arrested a man after they caught him setting a vehicle alight in the Rosengård district as the city's spate of summer car fires continued.

Swedes find out how birth control affects your sex life
Swedish birth control pills. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

Swedish researchers have investigated whether or not contraceptives affect women's sex lives.

Analysis
Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Police investigators at the scene of the grenade blast in Gothenburg. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

The Local speaks to two crime experts about why an eight-year-old boy became the latest victim of gang-related conflicts in Gothenburg.

Trump accuses Ericsson of bribing Hillary Clinton
Donald Trump at a campaign rally in Ohio. Photo: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

US presidential candidate Donald Trump spoke about the Swedish telecom giant at a campaign rally in Ohio.

Sponsored Article
Malmö to host global skateboard championship
National
Experts: Gothenburg grenade blast is 'part of a cycle of violence'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Gallery
Property of the week: Karlsborg
National
Why Sweden could change its criticised detention laws
Blog updates

23 August

A Summer in Sweden (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"For our first year here in Sweden we decided to have all our holidays in Sweden.…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
The mystique of Asia - in the middle of Stockholm
National
Watch this dog's reaction when she tries Swedish fermented herring
Sponsored Article
Why you should learn to trade (and just how easy it is)
Gallery
People-watching: August 19th-21st
National
How to find student housing in Sweden
National
VIDEO: Swede films first Northern Lights of the season
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Gallery
People-watching: August 17th
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
Society
Swedish population nears ten million
The Local Voices
This Syrian artist found love in a Swedish library
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
National
Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokémon teens. Only in Sweden.
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Gallery
Property of the week: Hammarby Sjöstad, Stockholm
Society
Drunk knight detained in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Can you solve this Swede's strange Star Wars mystery?
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
People-watching: August 12th-14th
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Swedes cheer first snow of the season
Gallery
People-watching: August 10th
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
The Local Voices
Syrian presenter: Swedish media should make more shows in Arabic
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Travel
Watch the meteor shower in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
Lifestyle
How to survive a crayfish party
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Gallery
IN PICS: Your Sweden summer snaps
Sponsored Article
6 simple travel hacks that will make your life easier
National
Why are fewer foreign graduates staying in Sweden to work?
Culture
This Swedish street artist's incredible murals will make your jaw drop
The Local Voices
Gabriel mastered Swedish and got accepted onto a medicine degree in just 7 months
3,354
jobs available