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Persson regrets Egyptians' deportation

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14:35 CET+01:00
Sweden's former prime minister, Göran Persson, has said the deportation of two men by US agents to Egypt in 2001 should never have been put into practice.

Persson insisted nonetheless that the decision to issue a deportation order was right.

The men, Mohammed Alzery and Ahmed Agiza, were expelled from the country following a deportation order by the Swedish government. They were handed over to US agents at Bromma Airport and were flown to Egypt on an American government plane.

Alzery claims he was tortured while in Egyptian custody, and Sweden has been criticized by the UN Human Rights Committee and organizations including Human Rights Watch.

The current government annulled the deportation order against Alzery, allowing the decision to be retried.

But Persson, who was voted out of office in September and who will cease as leader of his Social Democratic Party later this month, called the government's latest action an "empty gesture."

The decision to deport Alzery was correct, but should not have been put into practice, Persson said, adding that a government has no alternative but to trust the information it is given by Swedish authorities.

"It is the government's responsibility to use this kind of information to make decisions on deportations. In this point I think that the government did the right thing," Persson told journalists on Tuesday. Swedish security police Säpo suspected the two men of having links to terror organizations.

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