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Swede held in Pakistan 'refuses to be released': official

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10:37 CEST+02:00
A 19-year-old Swedish woman is still being held in Islamabad after having declined several times to be released without her husband, Pakistani officials report.

Rumours circulated last week that Safia Benaouda and her two-year-old son had been released from prison, a speculation that could not be confirmed by the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Utrikesdepartementet).

But according to a high ranking Pakistani official, Benaouda still remains in custody - by her own choosing.

“She won't leave without her husband,” Pakistani Home Secretary Rehman Malik told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“She and her son are doing well. We are very considerate of her special circumstances.”

Speaking to Sveriges Television (SVT), Malik also confirmed that there is no concrete evidence against the Swedes. The trio are only guilty of violating visa regulations.

Benaouda was arrested in northern Pakistan on August 28th, along with her husband, their 2-year-old son and Mehdi Gezhali, a Swedish national once imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.

The group was arrested on the border of the North-western province, Waziristan, in a forbidden zone containing nuclear facilities.

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