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Pakistan Swedes arrive home

The four Swedes deported from Pakistan arrived at Stockholm Arlanda airport late on Saturday night.

The Swedes – Mehdi Ghezali, who spent two years in Guantánamo Bay following his 2001 arrest in Afghanistan, 28-year-old Munir Awad and 19-year-old Safia Benaouda, and their two and a half-year-old boy, landed at around 10pm.

They group were escorted from the airport by plain clothes police into a waiting car, according to a report in the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.

“I am sick,” confirmed one of the group to the newspaper which reports that all four appeared worn out by their seven week ordeal.

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 to police reports.

According to Cecilia Julin at the Swedish foreign ministry the four are “coping well under the circumstances” and in response to a question as to why they were released she replied:

“We interpret the situation that the Pakistanis have concluded that there is not sufficient evidence to support putting them on trial.”

Pakistan police reported that the group was arrested after being found in a prohibited area near a nuclear power facility.

Police suspect that they were on their 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.

The Pakistan authorities confirmed early in the week that there remain no suspicions against the group of Swedes with regard to any serious criminal offences.

Cecilia Julin confirmed that the Swedish state has not paid for the group’s airline tickets to return to Sweden.

Patrik Peter, a spokesperson for the security police, was unwilling to discuss the details of the case said:

“If they want to talk to us then we would do so willingly.”

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BREAKING

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

Prosecutors in Sweden are now treating the murder at the Almedalen political festival as a terror crime, with the country's Säpo security police taking over the investigation.

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

In a press release issued on Monday evening, the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that the 32-year-old attacker, Theodor Engström, was now suspected of the crime of “terrorism through murder”, and also “preparation for a terror crime through preparation for murder”. 

Engström stabbed the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren last Wednesday as she was on her way to moderate a seminar at the Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland. 

Although he was a former member of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, police said his motive seemed to be to protest against Sweden’s psychiatry services, who he felt had treated his own mental illness badly. 

The release gave no details as to why the 32-year-old was now being investigated for a more serious crime, but terror expert Magnus Ranstorp told the Expressen newspaper that the shift indicated that police had uncovered new evidence. 

READ ALSO: What do we now know about the Almedalen knife attack? 

“The new crime classification means that they’ve either found a political motive for the attack which meets the threshold for terrorism, and that might be a political motive for murdering Ing-Marie Wieselgren,” he said. “Or they might have discovered that he was scouting out a politician, or another target that could be considered political.” 

Engström’s defence lawyer said last week that his client, who he described as disturbed and incoherent, had spoken in police interrogations of having “a higher-up target”. 

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