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Asylum seeker held 18 months on remand

Peter Vinthagen Simpson · 8 Feb 2010, 07:55

Published: 08 Feb 2010 07:55 GMT+01:00

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"I have not come across another case of a person being held in custody for so long," said Tobias Iwarsson, duty officer at Uppsala remand prison, to the newspaper.

Kadirou's eighteen months on remand has so far cost the penal system 1.2 million kronor ($ 161,000) and is considerably longer than average.

The 29-year-old, who claims to come from Algeria - a country he left as a 13-year-old, describes his situation as "torture-like".

"You can't imagine the nightmare in which I am living. Second after second locked up like an animal," Mehdi Kadirou told the newspaper.

Kadirou came to Sweden in 2007 and applied for asylum. The same year he stole a jacket from a store after threatening staff with a pair of scissors. He was sentenced to 15 months imprisonment and then deportation.

After serving his sentence for the robbery, Mehdi Kadirou's problems began.

The Algerian embassy in Stockholm declared itself unwilling to get involved in his case. He is unable to prove his identity as since fleeing the north African country he claims that he has lived on the streets and has never possessed any identity papers.

The Swedish police are working to determine his identity, a process which will be resumed in two months time and could in theory continually indefinitely, the newspaper writes.

According to Swedish law a person may not be held remanded in custody for a period longer than two months unless there are "extreme circumstances".

Tobias Iwarsson is critical that Mehdi Kadirou remains in his care pending the completion of the investigation.

"It would be one thing if he were violent, but this case concerns a diligent person," Iwarsson said.

Story continues below…

Kadirou's legal counsel, Helena Jonsson, has submitted a request for her client to be transferred to one of the Migration Board's detention centres during the course of the police investigation but the application has been rejected.

A psychiatrist that has met Mehdi Kadirou in custody has concluded that the long periods of solitary confinement have caused the onset of depression and delusional behaviour.

The European Committee for the Prevention of Torture under the Council of Europe visited Sweden's prisons and remand prisons in 2009. The subsequent report noted that Sweden had on previous occasions been urged to desist from holding people for extended periods on remand.

Peter Vinthagen Simpson (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

09:20 February 8, 2010 by byke
If it is as clearcut as reported, then that is sick as f*ck.
10:34 February 8, 2010 by DAVID T
He was convicted of a violent crime while asking Sweden for help - he got what he deserved but of course Algeria don't want him back so no doubt he'll be allowed to live in Sweden and commit more crimes.
10:40 February 8, 2010 by byke
David, he didn't commit violence but threatened such.

The article also stated he had cost authorities 1.2M over the course of 18 months, but previous to this he had been incarcerated for 15 months prior ..... I wonder if the total cost so far to the state would be closer to 3M ?
10:56 February 8, 2010 by peropaco
What a waste of my tax money. Send him back
10:56 February 8, 2010 by Vitas
I personally know the person which have been in the custody in Sweden for 6 months. Yes, he has stolen something from shop. But the most important that he was the refugee. Also it is necessary to consider that the Swedish laws not acceptable to refugees.

And I personally know the swedish person who steal more then 100 000 sek of course he was absolytelly free and had possibilities do much more.

Of course swedish citizen will not be in custody for the same crime so long.

Different laws for different people.

Refugees in Sweden are not human!

Sometimes I cant decide where works more idiots in Migrationsverket or in swedish justice system.
11:01 February 8, 2010 by miss79
refugees and migrant workers are human too, but of course in a different term..refugees are people who cant go back to the country because of prosecution or war while as migrant workers are different..but in this case, i dont think he is a refugee..he just want the benefit in sweden..#sigh#..
11:16 February 8, 2010 by Keith #5083
What a dilemna! On the one hand it seems so 'not right' that a person be detained for so long, on the other hand the society would not condone the acceptance of anyone who simply walks into the country without the proper process.

Keeping him locked up seems wrong, releasing him and risking anger from society if he commits further crime (violent or otherwise) would also be wrong.

In the meantime I am sure he is receiving humane treatment, has food and clothing and bathroom facilities - does he also have entertainment facilities (TV,DVD,PC,etc)?

Tyhere is a distinction made bewteen 'refugees from war torn/catastrophe areas' and 'economic refugees', I believe. As far as I am aware Algeria does not fit into the former category.

It would appear that the greater part of this time has been used to try and determine his ' country of origin' who then refused to accept his return.In fact he has not lived in Algeria,according to the report,for the last 16 years. So where has he lived? You would think that was easy information for him to supply.

Sweden has a pretty good reputation for taking in genuine refugees.
11:18 February 8, 2010 by Kaethar
@Vitas: No, the most important thing is that he's a criminal. You're forgetting that most of these refugees come to Sweden illegally. According to international law they have a right for their case to be reviewed if they apply for asylum. However, if they break the law they must be locked up. Only residents of Sweden go through the normal justice system. If an asylum seeker breaks the law they will just be treated as any other illegal trespasser into the country. Once the authorities do the background check on the person to make sure they're not a gang member/terrorist/etc they may still gain asylum if they're actually in danger - but before then don't expect the same treatment as residents of Sweden. This should be obvious.
12:16 February 8, 2010 by Alex Coman
No dilemma here. That man has a sociopathic behavior, and he need long term help. I don t think Sweden is eager to pay for his rehabilitation, so he ll go back to his country. There s a few swedish boys with this kind of problems, nobody needs another one.
12:28 February 8, 2010 by Vitas
I agree only with Alex Coman. These criminals has to be deported immidiately.

But so many exampels in Sweden refugees recieve PUT in swedish prison.
14:10 February 8, 2010 by StockholmSam
So, where do we send him if there is no proof of his citizenship in any country? Algeria has no obligation to take him based solely on his word that he is Algerian. If that were the case, the floodgates would open and any asylum seeker setting foot on Swedish soil could trash his passport and claim to have been born in Sweden.
16:12 February 8, 2010 by Uncle
How did he even arrive to Sweden w/o papers? How did he get on that plane? How did he pass into EU without papers?

Clearly he throw away his passport here in Sweden.

But then the Algerian authorities ISSUED the passport and they just need to look on the flight number, border police records and easily find him. Obviously they do not want him to sit on the neck of the taxpayers there.

In that case, the border police here needs to look into his arrival (without any document, the person would not enter the country, but just loaded on a plane back). If Sweden would be able to prove that he is actually an Algerian - buy him a parachute and offload him above Algier!
19:38 February 8, 2010 by Alex Coman
Man, Uncle, he didn t come by plane, be sure of that.
19:39 February 8, 2010 by SeattletoUmeå
Ugh.. another wonderful waste of tax payers money.. Send his ass back. U cant get to Sweden without some kinda papers ..passport.. he is a liar and needs to go back. He broke laws.. Sweden doesnt need ne more criminals to flip the bill for.
11:28 February 10, 2010 by speedygonzales
very good example of state fascism. hope all people will be against fascist law which punish people on the basis of their nationality or color of skin. in other case, more and more immigrants will burn sweden, the same as they did it in france and denmark.
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