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Saddam officials "sought Swedish asylum"

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13:55 CET+01:00
A dozen top-ranking officials from Saddam Hussein's regime have sought asylum in Sweden since 2003 where they are being investigated for crimes against humanity, police said Wednesday.

The Migration Board, which handles asylum requests, was not available for immediate comment.

But the head of the Swedish police division for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Hans Ölvebro, told AFP that police in different parts of the country were investigating "about 10" reports of crimes against humanity committed by the former Iraqi officials.

"These are high-ranking people who worked for Saddam's regime ... They have come here and sought asylum," he said.

Ölvebro said the police reports were filed by people living in Sweden, but he declined to provide other details. He said all information was classified pending the outcome of the investigations.

He would not comment on the exact number of officials, nor their identities nor their positions in Saddam Hussein's regime. Neither would he comment on the allegations made against them.

However, he explained that the investigations were in the preliminary stages and prosecutors were "far from pressing formal charges yet".

Swedish media reports from 2004 said that two of Saddam Hussein's cousins, both in their 40s and both former generals in the Iraqi army, had been granted asylum in Sweden.

The Migration Board never confirmed that information.

AFP

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