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SURVEILLANCE

Swedish government keeps quiet on US agents

The Swedish government has declined to comment on Monday’s revelation in the Swedish press that the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) had exposed two American undercover agents in Sweden in 2009.

Swedish government keeps quiet on US agents

“The ministry of justice is continuously briefed on the activity of the security services. There are also routines and regulations on how the other parts of the cabinet are informed. But we will not comment on if, how and when the ministry of justice is briefed in an individual case,“ minister for justice, Beatrice Ask, wrote in a statement.

According to foreign minister Carl Bildt, the foreign ministry has not been briefed by Säpo, which sometimes happens regarding the behaviour of foreign diplomats.

“This case has not been dealt with at the foreign ministry,” Bildt told news agency TT.

If Säpo finds foreign diplomats in breach of Swedish law they can turn to the foreign ministry to have them pronounced persona non grata by the ministry and forced to leave Sweden.

“But this has not occurred in this case,” Bildt said.

According to Social Democrat head Håkan Juholt, the opposition will be briefed by the government in the advisory council on foreign affairs next week.

“I think that is good. It is important that the government will give us information and that we have a chance to discuss it on the council,” said Juholt to TT.

He doesn’t want to criticise the actions of the government until he has heard what they have to say.

“If what the press are saying is true, this is a breach against Swedish and international law. First I want to know if the Swedish government was informed and what actions they have taken,” Juholt said.

And according to Juholt the Swedish people will not be kept in the dark.

“That is never acceptable. First the parties should be briefed but of course the government are also obligated to inform the people. If there has been a breach of Swedish and international law I assume that the government will let the Swedish people know what actions they will take,“ Juholt told TT.

Säpo discovered in 2009 that two Americans were conducting illegal, under-cover investigations in Sweden, the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) daily reported Monday.

According to the paper, the two men were discovered when Säpo noticed them tracking people that they were themselves investigating for suspected ties to terrorist groups.

Washington had not informed Swedish authorities of the agents’ activities in the country, and soon after their activities were discovered, the two US citizens left the country, the paper added.

Neither Säpo nor the American embassy has so far been willing to comment the affair in the press and the government is also keeping a tight lid on the matter.

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ISLAM

Prominent Muslim head of free school seized by security police

The chief executive of a largely Muslim free school in Gothenburg has been placed in custody by the Swedish Migration Agency on the orders of the country's Säpo security police. It follows the arrests of other Imams in recent months.

Prominent Muslim head of free school seized by security police
He was seized on Wednesday and taken to an immigration detention centre in the city, Sweden's Expressen newspaper reported on Thursday
 
Abdel-Nasser el Nadi, chief executive of Vetenskapsskolan, is the fifth senior member of Sweden's Muslim community to be placed in custody in less than a month. 
 
Three prominent imams are now in custody: Abo Raad, imam of a mosque in Gävle, Hussein Al-Jibury, imam of a mosque in Umeå, and Fekri Hamad, imam of a mosque in Västerås. Raad's son is also being held. 
 
 
Sven-Erik Berg, the school's headmaster, told The Local that he had no idea what was behind the arrest. 
 
“We don't know anything. I don't know anything more than you,” he said. “We are doing nothing, but the school is naturally maintaining a dialogue with the Swedish School Inspectorate and their lawyers.” 
 
He said it was inaccurate to describe the school as a 'Muslim school' as it has no official confessional status. 
 
“The chief executive is a central person among Swedish Muslims, so naturally the group of people we recruit from are often those who have a relation to Islam or Sweden's Islamic associations,” he said. “But the school does not go around telling children what they should or shouldn't believe.”
 
On its website the school declares: “At our school everyone is treated equally irrespective of gender, religion, ethnic background, appearance, opinions, or abilities”. 
 
“We are one of the best schools in Gothenburg. You just have to look at the statistics,” Berg added.  
 
A spokesman for Säpo told Expressen that he could not comment on any of the five cases or on whether they were in some way linked. 
 
But according to the Swedish news site Doku, which investigates Islamic extremists, Säpo is probing whether el Nadi has any links to a network of Islamic militants.
 
In an article published last October, the site alleged that El Nadi's activism was part of the reason that so many young men from Gothenburg had travelled to fight for the terror group Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. 
 
El-Nadi was previously the school's headmaster, and the school was in 2018 criticised by the Swedish School Inspectorate for not sufficiently promoting equality between girls and boys.
 
When he was interviewed by Dagens Nyheter a year ago, he asserted his loyalty to Sweden. 
 
“I have five children, all of whom were born in Sweden, a big family, and I want to protect this society in the same way that I have protected my children,” he said.  
 
El-Nadi was born in Egypt but has lived in Sweden since 1992. He has twice applied to become a Swedish citizen, in 2007 and 2011, and twice been rejected. 
   
 
 
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