Sweden “hushed up” torture allegations

The Swedish government concealed information about two Egyptians who were taken from Sweden to Egypt by American agents after the events of September 11 2001 so as not to damage relations with Egypt, according to Carl Henrik Ehrenkrona, the Director-General for Legal Affairs for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“We did not want to end up in an uncomfortable situation with Egypt by spreading unconfirmed information of this kind,” Ehrenkrona told Swedish Radio last week.

Swedish Radio reported that Säpo, the Swedish Security Police, had no control over the deportation. The suspects were taken by masked American agents, who then tied their hands and feet, stripped them naked and drugged them. The details were extracted from a report sent by former Säpo chief, Jan Danielsson, to the Minister of Justice, Thomas Bodström.

According to DN, foreign minister Laila Freivalds confirmed last week that the government chose early on to conceal the information about the Egyptians.

According to Östgöta Correspondenten, Freivalds discussed the deportation of the two terrorist suspects shortly after September 11th. They were flown out of Sweden “under what critics describe as torture-like conditions on an American plane”. The two suspects stated have been badly treated despite Egyptian promise to Sweden saying otherwise.

The leader of the Moderate Party, Fredrik Reinfeldt was said by Swedish Radio to have been “careful in his statements concerning this issue”. Nevertheless, he was critical of the government’s stance on the matter.

“We as a country congratulate ourselves for our good record on human rights, so naturally we want to know that that’s happening in practice,” he told SR. “We also think it’s important that the government is open and we know what’s been going on.”

He called for a foreign office committee to be set up to investigate the deportations.

“It is extremely frustrating that there is a big discussion about the government’s action in this matter and the only information I have comes from the media,” added Reinfeldt to TT.

The Left Party leader, Lars Ohly, said he wanted a debate in parliament.

“The evidence seems like a cover-up and this is unacceptable. All the facts must come out and that is why we suggest a debate,” said Lars Ohly, leader of the Left Party.

Louise Arbour, who is the UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, discussed the issue with Laila Freivalds last Wednesday and announced afterwards that it was already being investigated by two international organisations.

Sources: Dagens Nyheter, SR, Corren, Dagens PS