Terror raid based on 'vague' information
TT/Rebecca Martin · 15 Dec 2011, 08:24
Published: 15 Dec 2011 08:24 GMT+01:00
- Gothenburg cops cleared in bomb threat arrests (07 Apr 11)
- Men locked in mosque during terror raid (11 Nov 10)
- Gothenburg police: terror arrest a 'mistake' (05 Nov 10)
“This is completely juvenile. How can you deem this to be a credible witness? I don’t think it gets more confused than this,” said Nizar, one of those arrested at the time, to SR.
It was in the early hours of the morning on October 30th 2010 when a large team of police entered the home of two families in the Gothenburg area.
Young children stood in horror as their parents were forced down to the ground by a squad of screaming police officers aiming their guns at them.
Three men and one woman taken into custody by the police.
The police have continued to maintain that they were acting on a tip from a “credible source”, a woman who had overheard a mobile phone conversation in Arabic.
The woman had claimed to have heard a man mention the slang word that Gothenburg locals use for the shopping centre Nordstan in central Gothenburg ('femman'), and how he was going to place a bomb there.
After the woman was questioned, the Swedish security service, Säpo, was called in.
At the station, the arrested individuals were told that they were had been brought in under the suspicion of preparing for terrorist crimes (förberedelse till terroristbrott).
They all denied the allegations and were all released within 24 hours.
The preliminary investigation into the terror suspicions against the men was soon dropped and it wasn’t long before the police's actions were under investigation.
However, the investigation into the conduct of the police was dropped after prosecutor Björn Ericson concluded that, although the incident was unfortunate, no individual could be blamed for the events.
Ericson said that the police were acting under enormous pressure trying to prevent what they believed to be a planned terrorist attack on central Gothenburg.
The problem was that they acted against the wrong people. But no one individual can be blamed for this, said Ericson at the time.
However, according to a report by Sveriges Radio on Thursday, the statements given by the woman regarding the man’s description were vague and somewhat confused.
At one point the witness described the man as “tall, dark skinned, African”. She also said he had “African curly hair”.
But during the same questioning session, the woman also described a man who wasn’t dark skinned, who was fairly short, and who didn’t have curly hair.
At one point in their interrogation notes, officers have concluded that the man is of African descent, only to conclude the opposite a bit further down, according to SR.
The prosecutor, Thomas Lindstrand, told SR he wasn’t aware of the contradictory statements given by the woman during the questioning. But according to the police, the witness is still a credible source.
“As her statement was the background to the case given to the prosecutor, she has been deemed credible,” Ingemar Johansson, head of the Västra Götaland county police, told SR.
According to Nizar, the family has not been faring so well over the past year. Especially the children have been suffering the consequences of the arrest.
“To see their father lying there, naked and bound, while the police are apprehending him, aiming their guns at him. And dad can do nothing. It is very hard to imagine how a child reacts when seeing something like that,” he told SR.