Swedish tourist: police in Egypt tortured me

Swedish tourist: police in Egypt tortured me
Riot police move on protesters on Cairo on Friday
A 22-year-old Swedish tourist in Egypt claims he was arrested and tortured for four days by police before escaping when protesters set fire to the building where he was being held, media reported Monday.

“They almost killed me. The only thing I wanted was to see my wife and family again before I died,” Aaed Nijim told Swedish tabloid Expressen.

Nijim, who lives in Teckomatorp in southwestern Sweden, also told the local Helsingborgs Dagblad (HD) newspaper that he missed his flight home following his arrest and dramatic escape from an Egyptian jail on Saturday.

Swedish authorities confirmed Monday they had been in contact with a Swede, aged 20 to 25, who “said he had been in prison.”

“We cannot confirm what has happened to him,” foreign ministry spokesman Tobias Nilsson told AFP, adding the man had yet to come in to the embassy for assistance.

Nijim was vacation in Cairo and was taking pictures of a mosque in the al-Abasia suburb of Cairo last Tuesday when police suddenly arrested him, he told the local Helsingbord Dabladet (HD) newspaper.

“They took my camera and drove me to a prison where they hit and threatened me. They took off my clothes and gave electric shocks to my entire body,” he told the newspaper.

Nijim added that all his money and valuables were taken as well. When he asked for permission to contact the Swedish embassy he was threatened and beaten again, according to HD.

“They put a knife to my throat. I’ve never been so afraid,” he told the newspaper.

Nijim told Expressen he was beaten by several officers at the police station and a policeman told him he would spend the rest of his life in prison if he tried to call the Swedish embassy.

“They threatened sexual assault,” he told the paper, alleging also that he had been tortured with electric charges attached to his testicles.

But in the confusion that ensued when the building caught fire on Saturday, Nijim and other prisoners managed to knock down a door and make it out to the streets among the protesters calling for the ouster of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.

“We couldn’t stay there. The prisoners broke down the doors and started escaping,” he told the newspaper.

Nijim, who was born in Qatar but has lived in Sweden with his parents and siblings for years and holds a Swedish passport, escaped with nothing but a shirt, jacket, socks and now finds himself stranded in Cairo without any money.

While he managed to make contact with the Swedish embassy, he was told that the foreign ministry was unable to help him, according to the newspaper.

Foreign ministry spokesperson Joakim Larsson confirmed that a man did call the Swedish embassy in Cairo, but according to Larsson, the caller wasn’t denied assistance.

Larsson explained that embassy staff urged the man to stay indoors and obey the curfew that was in place at the time of the call.

The embassy also told the man that he should try to visit the embassy the day after when the nighttime curfew was no longer in effect.

“The man more or less demanded that the embassy should come and pick him up in a car, something we, unfortunately, don’t have the ability to do in light of the current situation in Cairo,” said Larsson.

Speaking with the Skånska Dagbladet newspaper, Nijim’s wife, Sandra Persson, expressed her concern over her husband’s well being.

“We’re very worried and haven’t been able to get any help from anyone at the Swedish embassy or the foreign ministry who’ve been in contact with,” she told the newspaper.

“He doesn’t know anyone in Cairo who can help him.”

Nijim is not the only Swede to have had a run in with Egyptian authorities during the recent protests.

Two journalists working for Sveriges Television (SVT) were also detained while recording footage in the Cairo suburbs on Sunday.

Just as reporter Samir Abu Eid and camera operator Pernilla Edholm began filming a demonstration, soldiers intervened, pointing their weapons at Abu Eid’s chest, the Expressen newspaper reports.

While Edholm remained in a vehicle with the team’s driver, Abu Eid was thrown into an armoured military vehicle before being released an hour later.

“I was extremely relieved when we got out of there. Several journalists have found themselves in bad situations in Egypt in recent days,” he told Expressen.

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