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Six held after intrusion at Libyan embassy

About 20 people demonstrated outside the Libyan Embassy in Stockholm Thursday night. Three of them broke into the premises and were later arrested.

Six held after intrusion at Libyan embassy

At 4.30am an additional three men were arrested for trespassing at the embassy, lifting the total to six detained individuals.

“They have resided illegally in the area and will likely be released after questioning. There are no charges against them. This morning it has been pretty quiet at the embassy,” said John Hall, station officer at Norrmalm police told the TT news agency.

According to police, the apprehended were probably Swedish nationals.

The police have set up barricades around the embassy in preparation for anticipated protests during the weekend.

The demonstrators demanded that Sweden close the Libyan embassy and reject the regime of Muammar Qaddafi’s newly appointed ambassador.

After consulting with the foreign ministry, police entered the premises.

“Two of them surrendered shortly after 1am after hoisting up their own flag,” Sven-Erik Olsson at Stockholm police told TT.

According to police, a flag burned inside the embassy, causing some damage and the Embassy’s door has been painted in the Libyan rebel flag colours.

A preliminary investigation of aggravated unlawful entry has been initiated.

On April 18th demonstrators protested outside the embassy against the removal of the independence era rebel flag that had been previously flown from the building.

The rebel flag was raised February 22th as then-ambassador Abdelmaged Ali Buzrigh changed sides in support of the rebel cause, distancing himself from Qaddafi.

Protestors connected the flag’s removal to be an indication that the newly installed Embassy head is a supporter of Qaddafi.

The new ambassador Salah Umi has been accused by Buzrigh, amoung others, of belonging to Qaddafi’s notorious external security service.

Since March 10th, the EU no longer recognizes the Qaddafi regime as representative of the Libyan people.

Diplomatic relations will not exist anymore and the embassy in Stockholm thus has no function, said the Foreign Ministry.

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LIBYA

Swede ‘secret agent’ for three countries: report

Newspaper Dagens Nyheter (DN) on Monday revealed the existence of a triple-agent in Sweden, a man who goes under the name “Joseph” and who has allegedly been carrying out intelligence gathering for Sweden, Britain and Libya at the same time.

Swede ‘secret agent’ for three countries: report

“It is probably more of an exception than a rule that someone works for three nations at the same time, especially considering one of these was Libya,” terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp told The Local.

The man, who is a resident in Sweden, lives in a small town, has kids and is surviving on a meagre income. Yet, he has been able to travel extensively abroad, the paper reports. As recently as a few weeks ago, Joseph was in Libya, where he allegedly met with Libyan rebel leader Abdel Hakim Belhadj.

However, when contacted by the paper, “Joseph” is adamant he is not a spy.

“You’re talking to the wrong person, okay. You know nothing, you don’t know what it is all about,” he told DN.

But a four pages long report from the British intelligence service MI6, which came into the hands of the organization Human Rights Watch after the fall of the Libyan regime, has given experts insight into how he was recruited by the British in Manchester in 2003.

“’Joseph’ brought with him the names of eleven Muslims in Sweden which he thought were potential terrorists or collaborators. He also brought documents regarding a Muslim organization in Sweden,” the fax said, according to the paper.

The fax also showed that Joseph was in contact with both former Libyan leader Muammar Quaddafi’s security service ESO and the Swedish security service, Säpo, according to the paper.

Dagens Nyheter reports that the man who goes under the name Joseph is in his mid-forties and came to Sweden as a political refugee in the 1980s. He became a Swedish citizen and is now registered in a rental apartment in a small Swedish town.

At one point he was working illegally as an unregistered cab driver and he has also worked in a shop. He is known to police for beating up two of his previous girlfriends and was recently caught shoplifting in a store, according to the paper.

In Sweden he is established in the Muslim community and is said to “know everybody”.

Although Säpo never comments on individual cases their annual report names Libya as one of the countries that have had spy presence in Sweden. According to DN, several of these have been identified by authorities and deported.

And according to Ranstorp, it is unusual that an individual would be tied to the intelligence service of three countries at the same time.

“If this document is real, then I think it is a sign of the times. There was frantic activity after 9/11 and everyone tried to establish contacts in key countries,” Ranstorp said.

The document mentions a connection between Joseph and Säpo only fleetingly, but although there is nothing in the document that indicates that the Swedes were informed of the British-Libyan connection, Ranstorp is pretty certain Säpo would have been aware.

“They have had a pretty good overview of anyone who could constitute a ‘problem’,” he told The Local.

Rebecca Martin

Follow Rebecca on Twitter here.

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