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Pakistan to free Swede held in terror probe

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17:30 CEST+02:00
The 19-year-old Safia Benaouda and her two-year-old son, who have been imprisoned in Pakistan since August, are to be released “shortly”, according to the Swedish foreign ministry.

Two other Swedes who were arrested at the same time as Benaouda, her 28-year-old boyfriend, Munir Awad, and Mehdi Gezhali, a Swedish national once imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay, are not going to released, however, said foreign ministry spokesperson Anders Jörle to the TT news agency.

It remains unclear when the remaining two Swedes, who have been the subject of a terror investigation, may be released.

Pakistan's Minister of the Interior Rehman Malik announced the impending release of Benaouda and her son when he met with Sweden's ambassador in Islamabad, Ulrika Sundberg.

There have been several previous reports that Benaouda had been released or was about to be released, but Wednesday's news is the first time the information has been confirmed by both Swedish and Pakistani officials.

Malik, who is in charge of Pakistan's police force, said on Tuesday that he would receive a report about the detained Swedes on Wednesday, at which time he would made a decision about their fate as soon as possible.

The Swedes have been detained since August 28th when they were arrested in northern Pakistan, along with seven Turks, an Iranian, a Russian, and one Pakistani, according the police.

The police reported that the group was arrested in a prohibited area near a nuclear power facility.

Police suspect the group was on its way to rendezvous with representatives from the Taliban in southern Waziristan, long considered a Taliban stronghold.

One of the Swedes claimed the group was in fact on its way to a meeting with a Muslim revivalist movement in the city of Lahore.

It took until September 16th for Swedish authorities to receive formal confirmation that the Swedes had in fact been arrested.

According to foreign ministry spokesperson Anders Jörle, personnel from Sweden's embassy in Pakistan were able to meet the four Swedish detainees on one occasion.

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