Sweden “should have ignored Egypt torture promise”

A Swedish parliamentary commission on Wednesday unanimously criticized the government for the controversial deportation of two suspected Egyptian extremists to Cairo, where they were later allegedly tortured.

“Sweden should not have accepted Egypt’s guarantee that it would not torture or mistreat (the two men). The guarantee should therefore not have led to the deportation of two Egyptian citizens in December 2001,” the standing committee on the constitution (KU) said in a statement.

In December 2001 Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed al-Zery, who were suspected of terrorist activities and ordered to be deported from Sweden, were handed over to US agents, then put on a plane leased by the Pentagon and flown to Egypt.

The pair claimed they were mistreated by the agents during their transfer to Cairo, and then tortured during their detention in Egypt.

Sweden, known for its staunch defense of human rights, has claimed that it received assurances from Cairo that the pair would not be tortured or condemned to death after deportation.

“The lack of planning on how to follow up the guarantee reflects, according to KU, that the actual follow-up was lacking,” the committee said.

Last May, the United Nations Committee against Torture condemned Swedish authorities for violating an international anti-torture accord when they deported the two Egyptians, and international human rights groups have also condemned the move.

“The cases (of the two men) provide the clearest illustration to date of the inherently flawed nature of diplomatic assurances and of post-return monitoring mechanisms,” Human Rights Watch stated in a report published earlier this year.

Zery was later released, but Agiza is serving a 15-year sentence handed down by a military court.


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