Guantanamo Swede released

The "Cuban-Swede" Mehdi Ghezali has been released from Guantanamo Bay. A press release from the Pentagon stated on Thursday that there are various reasons for Ghezali's release, including the fact that he has no information that may be of interest to the American Intelligence Service and that he has not committed a crime which could be proven in a military court.

Ghezali, who comes from Örebro, has been imprisoned since December 2001 without trial and without being told why he was being held. He was captured in Pakistan close to the Afghan border and American forces suspected he had terrorist connections. In January 2002 he was moved to Guantanamo Bay.

He finally left the prison camp early on Tuesday morning and was brought back to Sweden on a government plane on Thursday evening. Peter Althin, Ghezali’s solicitor, expressed his delight.

“It is a great relief after fighting for so long to get him out of there,” he said. “The process has been one of modern society’s worst catastrophes.”

Ghezali’s father said he could not believe it was true. He said he wanted to thank “Göran Persson and all those Swedes who have been on his son’s side”.

Persson raised the case with US president George W. Bush when he visited Washington earlier in the year. Sweden’s foreign minister, Laila Freivalds, told the press that this was a victory for Swedish diplomacy.

“It hasn’t been easy to convince the US of the necessity of following fundamental legal principles in connection with this,” she said. “We have successfully got the Americans to understand that you can’t hold people prisoner for an undefined time without charging them.”