Sweden “made promises” over Guantanamo release

When Mehdi Ghezali was released from the Guantanamo base on Cuba, the Swedish government declared that the United States had been given no guarantees in connection with his release. But according to the TV4 programme Kalla Fakta [Cold Facts], Sweden agreed to keep Ghezali under observation.

Mehdi Ghezali was arrested in Pakistan in December 2001 on suspicion of collaborating with terrorists in Afghanistan.

He was taken to Guantanamo, where he was held prisoner for over two years without being formally charged with any crime.

On July 8th 2004 he was released and that day he was brought back to Sweden’s Skavsta airport on a government plane.

After Ghezali’s release, Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds repeatedly explained that Sweden had made no promises or guarantees to the United States concerning his return.

“No, the government cannot make any guarantees about what the Swedish authorities will consider doing or not doing,” she said to TT last summer.

Speaking before the government’s constitutional committee in the spring, Freivalds made the same point:

“As far as I know there were no promises whatsoever from the Swedish authorities,” she said.

But according to Kalla Fakta’s sources, the Swedish response to the United States was that American authorities would be informed if Mehdi Ghezali applied for a passport.

Sweden would also inform the United States if he made a journey abroad as well as providing information on who he was travelling with if they thought it appropriate. The US requested this information in writing as long as it was within the framework of Swedish law.

But Laila Freivalds maintains that no guarantees were given.

“What Sweden did was to give the US an outline of what options were available to the Swedish authorities in different situations and under Swedish law,” she said to TT on Monday evening.

“And what the Swedish government was able to do was to promise that the Swedish authorities would do what they could under Swedish law.”

Precisely what measures were taken, however, remains unclear.

“I don’t know. I have no information on that,” said Freivalds.

Discuss this topic!

TT/The Local