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TORTURE

Egyptian compensated for forced deportation

Ahmed Agiza, one of two Egyptians forcibly deported from Bromma Airport by CIA agents in 2001, is to receive three million kronor ($440,000) in damages from the Swedish state, his lawyer said on Friday.

Agiza, who remains imprisoned in an Egyptian jail, had demanded 35 million kronor from the Swedish state.

His legal representative Anna Wigenmark said her client had accepted the Chancellor of Justice’s offer with a degree of hesitancy.

“He is primarily dissatisfied with the difficult situation in which he currently finds himself. He feels that he has been treated unfairly. He is not doing at all well. He has suffered serious mental and physical damage,” she told the TT news agency.

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

In July this year, Mohammed Alzery was also awarded three million kronor by Sweden’s Chancellor of Justice Göran Lambertz, who agreed to the sum after consulting with Alzery’s lawyers

The Swedish government sent both men back to Egypt on December 18th 2001 despite having insufficient diplomatic guarantees that they would not be tortured upon arrival, something for which Sweden has faced criticism from organizations including the UN Torture Committee.

The men had their hands and feet cuffed and hoods placed over their heads immediately prior to the deportation. Swedish Security Service Säpo had suspected them since May 2001 of links to a terrorist organization.

Once back on Egyptian soil, Agiza was sentenced by a military court to 25 years in prison, a sentence that was later reduced to 15 years.

Alzery was held without charge in an Egyptian prison until October 2003. Both men claim to have been tortured while in prison.

BURIAL

Swedish archeologist finds ancient mass grave in Egypt

A Swedish archeologist has discovered a 3,000-year-old mass grave at the Gebel el-Silsila site in southern Egypt.

Swedish archeologist finds ancient mass grave in Egypt
John Ward and the team with one of the sarcophogi. Photo: Gebel El Silsila Project
Maria Nilsson, Researcher in Classical Archeology at Lund University, told Sweden’s TT newswire that although her group had so far dug through less than half of the grave site, they had already found a large number of human remains. 
 
“It’s just skeleton after skeleton after skeleton,” she said. “We haven’t yet finished the first chamber, but we have so far taken up 50 adults and 25 children.” 
 
Nilsson and her British husband John Ward, who is the project’s Assistant Director, announced the discovery in a video after it was announced by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquity on Thursday. 
 

 
The group discovered the shaft last year, but only realised its full significance when they started digging this October. The shaft was found five metres under ground and leads to two chambers, each filled with water, sand and sludge. 
 
View to the south-east of chamber 1. Photo: Gebel el Silsila Project
 
The grave is thought to date from Egypt’s 18th dynasty, making it around 3,400 years old. As well as bodies, the archeologists have found burial goods, such as scarabs, amulets, and different types of pots, coming from three generations of pharoahs: Thutmosis II, III och Amenhotep II.
 
Writing in her blog, Nilsson, said that no similar mass grave had been found as part of the dig. 
 
“No other tomb documented at Gebel el-Silsila previously has contained such a high number of entombed individuals,” she wrote.
 
“One of the more important results of the discovery at Gebel el-Silsila is the amount of buried children and women, indicating that there was a complete society with entire families living and working in ancient Kheny.”
 
 
Men-Kheper-Re scarab. Photo: Anders Andersson
 
“What we can see from the burial goods and the actual architecture of the tomb is that they belonged to the upper middle-class,” Nilsson said. “For various reasons, we believe that they were involved in quarry work.” 
 
The archeologists have several theories for why so many bodies were collected in the same place. 
 
Perhaps it was a kind of temporary morgue where Egypt’s priests kept bodies while waiting for grave sites to become available. Perhaps there had been an epidemic.   
 
In February Maria Nilsson and John Ward are returning to Sweden, and will be returning to the burial place next autumn. 
 
View from the shaft into chamber.  Photo: Anders Andersson
 
 
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