• Sweden's news in English

Sweden pressured in 2001 terror case: report

TT/The Local · 19 Jan 2009, 07:08

Published: 19 Jan 2009 07:08 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Lindh, who was assassinated in 2003, has long been seen as the one responsible for deciding to expel Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed Alzery to Egypt in late 2001.

But her friend and former press secretary Eva Franchell writes in a new book released on Monday that the commonly held view doesn’t tell the whole story.

While Lindh did indeed prepare the case ahead of the government’s decision to deport the Egyptians, Franchell claims that the foreign minister had a long conversation with then-prime minister Göran Persson before she began working on the case.

“I think that she felt a lot of pressure from the situation,” Franchell told the TT news agency, adding that she believes Persson was aware of what was going on as the matter unfolded.

“Would Anna Lindh deport two suspected terrorists, in violation of human rights law, to a country that uses torture and then rely on the CIA to get them out and then wait several months before she told her boss? That’s a very unlikely scenario,” said Franchell, referring the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency's role in the matter.

The Aftonbladet newspaper, which reviewed an advance copy of the book, entitled Väninnan: Rapport från Rosenbad (‘Girlfriend: an account from Rosenbad’), wrote in its Sunday edition that the United Sates wanted the CIA to help with the deportations of the Egyptians, threatening to implement a trade boycott against the EU if its wishes weren’t met.

“I don’t know exactly how serious the threat was, but I’ve had it confirmed by many sources that Sweden was under a huge amount of pressure,” said Franchell.

She also describes that the justice minister at the time, Thomas Bodström, was made aware of the case the same as Anna Lindh, December 17th, 2001 – the day before the deportations took place.

“It’s confirmed by an email which I was given,” said Franchell.

Shortly after government decision, a CIA plane left Cairo bound for Stockholm’s Bromma airport.

Agiza and Alzery were then handed over to US agents and flown back to Cairo in what was one of several extraordinary renditions carried out by the United States in the early years of the war on terror.

Both men later claimed they were tortured while being held in Egypt, leading many international human rights bodies to criticize Sweden for its role in the forced deportations.

Both men eventually had their deportations overturned and went on to receive damage awards from the Swedish state in 2008.

In the Riksdag’s constitutional committee, Bodström said it was only then that he learned the CIA was involved.

Story continues below…

Late on Sunday night, Persson issued a few statements in reaction to press reports about Franchell’s book.

He wrote that, “the government was jointly responsible for the decision to deport the suspected Egyptian terrorists. It was not an easy decision to make. The case was difficult and demanded a great deal of preparation. The member of the government who was responsible for those preparations was Anna Lindh.”

Persson said he had “another memory” of the matter than what has been described in the press about Franchell’s book.

Bodström is out of the country and didn’t want to comment on the book until he had read it, according to his press secretary.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Nobel Prizes
'I'd say he's arrogant but I'd be lying': Swedes on Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan performing in France. Photo: David Vincent/AP

Almost two weeks have passed since Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature and he has yet to acknowledge the win. The Local asked Swedes what they think of the singer's silence.

Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast by thousands
A Swedish migration authority office in Stockholm. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

The country has also slashed its prediction for 2017.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
People-watching: October 20th
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Property of the week: Linnéstaden, Gothenburg
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
Sweden unveils Europe's first elk hut
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available