US held Swedish terror suspect 'for information'

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TT/The Local/rm - [email protected]
US held Swedish terror suspect 'for information'

Swedish citizen Mehdi Ghezali was kept at the Guantanamo Bay prison camp for two years to provide the US government with information of the ‘recruitment’ of foreign Muslims in Saudi Arabia, according to documents made public by whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.


Following the attack on the World Trade Centre in New York in September 2001, the US military was bombing targets in Afghanistan with the aim to force out Osama bin Laden.

Ghezali, who was in Afghanistan at the time, was arrested when trying to exit through Pakistan and turned over to US military.

He was later taken to a prison camp located on US military base on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba where he remained for two years without being formally charged with anything.

The documents made public by WikiLeaks and reviewed by the Aftonbladet and Expressen newspapers reveal that Ghezali was kept at the prison camp to "give general and specific information of the cultural, religious and ethnic recruitment of foreign nationals participating in the Hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia".

The WikiLeaks papers also show that the US wanted Ghezali to be kept in Swedish prison upon his return to Sweden, according to Aftonbladet.

According to the documents, the US military considered the Swede of "medium-high intelligence value" and that he constituted a medium-high risk because he "posed a threat to the United States, its interests, and its allies".

Ghezali was released from Guantanamo and arrived in Sweden in 2004.

A Pentagon statement at the time said that there were various reasons for Ghezali's release, including the fact that he had no information of interest to American intelligence services and that he had not committed a crime that could be proven in a military court.

In 2009 Ghezali, along with two others, were again arrested in Pakistan.

After spending more than a month in the custody of Pakistani officials, Ghezali and the other Swedes were released.

No terror charges were ever filed, although Ghezali was cited for entering the country without a proper visa.


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