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Swedish MPs knew of undercover US agents

Several Swedish politicians knew that undercover US agents had been discovered in Sweden, according to a Swedish MP and member of the National Police Board.

Johan Linander of the Centre party revealed to daily Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) on Thursday that the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) briefed him, along with the other members of the National Police Board (Rikspolisstyrelsen), of the discovery of the two US agents after their departure from the country.

“Sometimes the US takes a step too far in their fight against terrorism, and that is very regrettable and wrong,” Linander told SvD.

On Monday the paper revealed that the Säpo had discovered two American undercover agents operating in Sweden in 2009. When Säpo approached the CIA for an explanation the two agents left the country.

The contact at the agency, “Charlie”, had diplomatic immunity, according to SvD, and could therefore not be tried in Sweden.

But “Charlie” left Sweden after the incident. According to Linander, he was “let go”.

The two agents operating undercover in Sweden did not have diplomatic immunity and could have been prosecuted. But according to Linander this is the usual procedure.

“That is the way to handle it if you want this kind of behaviour to stop,” Linander told SvD.

Linander also told the paper that this isn’t the first, and unlikely the last time that the US has overstepped its mark in Sweden, alluding to an incident in 2001, when CIA agents forcibly deported two Egyptian nationals from Sweden.

So far the government has declined to comment but the Social Democrat head Håkan Juholt said on Tuesday that he is hoping that the opposition will be briefed by the government in the advisory council on foreign affairs next week.

But according to Linander, who has briefed his own party, Juholt should “stop whining” and contact his own party members who sat on the police board at the time of the discovery.

But Susanne Eberstein, the Social Democrat MP who sat on the board, told news agency TT that she could not have passed on the information from Säpo to anyone outside of the Board.

“It is obvious that you don’t pass on classified information,” said Eberstein.

And the Social Democrats have not been briefed.

“This is news to me, I have not been informed of this,” Juholt said through his press secretary to news agency TT.

According to Eberstein it is always the responsibility of the government to brief the opposition.

“This has nothing to do with the National Police Board, the information was classified,” she said to SvD.

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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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