SHARE
COPY LINK
2001 CIA TERROR RENDITION

EGYPT

Deportees: CIA behind torture interrogations

Two Egyptians who were forcibly deported to Egypt from Sweden by CIA agents in 2001 have blamed the US spy agency for the torture they received in their home country.

Deportees: CIA behind torture interrogations
Ahmed Agiza

Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed Al Zery were handed over to the CIA by Swedish security service agents as part of a so called terror suspect “rendition” operation carried out by the US spy agency.

For the first time, the two men have been able to share their story with the public.

In an interview on the Swedish investigative journalsim program Uppdrag Granskning, which airs on Sveriges Television (SVT) on Wednesday night, they tell their story of what happened when they were deported from Sweden.

“For a long time I have wanted people, especially Swedes, to know the whole truth,” Mohammed Al Zery told SVT.

According to Al Zery and Agiza, they were taken to Bromma Airport, a small airport near Stockholm, after being arrested by agents from Swedish security service Säpo and informed of the deportation.

At the airport, an American plane with seven CIA agents and two people from the Egyptian security service were waiting for them as they were escorted by Säpo officers.

The nine people from the plane were dressed in civilian clothing and were all masked.

Al Zery and Agiza were taken into the small police station at Bromma airport where their clothes were cut off them, their hands and feet were chained, and they were blindfolded before they were taken onto the waiting plane.

”They threw me down on the floor and pressed their knees in my back. They tore all our clothes off and put a diaper, a blindfold and transportation clothes on us,” Agiza said in the interview.

All the while, the Säpo officers, as well as conventional police officers, stood by and witnessed what the men described as excessively violent treatment.

”I was surprised and shocked. I had a positive image of Sweden, of Swedish politics and democracy,” Agiza told SVT.

A Säpo officer was told there was no room for her on the plane. Instead a Swedish police officer and an interpreter from Säpo were allowed on board.

Both men were treated unkindly by the guards during the transport down to Egypt.

Muscle relaxant given to the two Egyptians prior to the journey made it difficult for them to breathe, but when they tried to speak to the guards they received harsh reponses.

”The guard thought that I was lifting up my blindfold to see him, so he started punching me in the face,” said Al Zery to SVT.

Once the two men had arrived in Egypt they were isolated from each other for months, despite being kept only a few metres apart.

Both were kept in solitary confinement with their eyes covered at all times. The only objects in the cells were a cement slab, a water bottle, and a bottle to urinate in.

According to the two men, their interrogations would commence in the evening and go on until dawn, night after night.

Al Zery told SVT that he was systematically beaten and hung from the ceiling by his feet.

Electric shocks were also part of the routine.

”They take your clothes off, you are blindfolded, your hands are tied behind your back and your feet are chained up. Then you are put on a wet mattress. The interrogator sits down – and then he begins,” Al Zery said.

According to him, the shock treatment is different from how most people imagine it.

The interrogator has a hand-held device and he can control the strength of the shocks.

”He increases the strength. He gets to the more sensitive points – the penis and testicles – and starts doling out bursts of electricity,” he said.

The mattress is kept wet so that the prisoner will feel the shocks throughout his body. According to Al Zery, he was sometimes forced to take cold showers after the interrogations so that the injuries wouldn’t show as much.

A doctor was also present at all times during the interrogations to keep the prisoners alive.

In the interview both men say that they are certain that the Americans were behind the interrogations and that they were only using the Egyptians to do their dirty work.

”The Egyptians asked questions that related to Egypt, for example why are you attacking the regime? It was all about Egyptian interests. The Americans on the other hand asked about what was going on in Pakistan and what do you think of Osama bin Laden? It was obvious that the Americans were in control of the interrogations,” said Agiza to SVT.

The SVT report also reveals that former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak wanted to thank Sweden for their help in bringing Agiza and Al Zery back to Egypt.

According to a previously secret report sent from Sweden’s embassy in Cairo detailing a meeting with a general in the Egyptian security service, Mubarak said that he wanted “a thank you letter to be sent to the responsible Swedish minister” for Sweden’s help in the matter.

In 2008, the Swedish state agreed to pay both men 3 million kronor ($435,000) in compensation after admitting they were wrongly expelled.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

BURIAL

Swedish archeologist finds ancient mass grave in Egypt

A Swedish archeologist has discovered a 3,000-year-old mass grave at the Gebel el-Silsila site in southern Egypt.

Swedish archeologist finds ancient mass grave in Egypt
John Ward and the team with one of the sarcophogi. Photo: Gebel El Silsila Project
Maria Nilsson, Researcher in Classical Archeology at Lund University, told Sweden’s TT newswire that although her group had so far dug through less than half of the grave site, they had already found a large number of human remains. 
 
“It’s just skeleton after skeleton after skeleton,” she said. “We haven’t yet finished the first chamber, but we have so far taken up 50 adults and 25 children.” 
 
Nilsson and her British husband John Ward, who is the project’s Assistant Director, announced the discovery in a video after it was announced by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquity on Thursday. 
 

 
The group discovered the shaft last year, but only realised its full significance when they started digging this October. The shaft was found five metres under ground and leads to two chambers, each filled with water, sand and sludge. 
 
View to the south-east of chamber 1. Photo: Gebel el Silsila Project
 
The grave is thought to date from Egypt’s 18th dynasty, making it around 3,400 years old. As well as bodies, the archeologists have found burial goods, such as scarabs, amulets, and different types of pots, coming from three generations of pharoahs: Thutmosis II, III och Amenhotep II.
 
Writing in her blog, Nilsson, said that no similar mass grave had been found as part of the dig. 
 
“No other tomb documented at Gebel el-Silsila previously has contained such a high number of entombed individuals,” she wrote.
 
“One of the more important results of the discovery at Gebel el-Silsila is the amount of buried children and women, indicating that there was a complete society with entire families living and working in ancient Kheny.”
 
 
Men-Kheper-Re scarab. Photo: Anders Andersson
 
“What we can see from the burial goods and the actual architecture of the tomb is that they belonged to the upper middle-class,” Nilsson said. “For various reasons, we believe that they were involved in quarry work.” 
 
The archeologists have several theories for why so many bodies were collected in the same place. 
 
Perhaps it was a kind of temporary morgue where Egypt’s priests kept bodies while waiting for grave sites to become available. Perhaps there had been an epidemic.   
 
In February Maria Nilsson and John Ward are returning to Sweden, and will be returning to the burial place next autumn. 
 
View from the shaft into chamber.  Photo: Anders Andersson
 
 
SHOW COMMENTS