Syria 'monitoring' exiles in Sweden: envoy

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Syria 'monitoring' exiles in Sweden: envoy

Former Syrian ambassador to Sweden, Mohammad Bassam Imadi, has revealed that the Syrian government was spying on Syrian exiles in Sweden during his time in office.


Imadi, who worked as ambassador in Sweden from 2005 to 2008, fled Syria in 2011 for Turkey, after claiming that he was no longer safe in the country.

He is currently visiting Stockholm as a member of the foreign committee in opposition of Syria’s national council, according to daily Expressen.

On Monday, Imadi told Swedish media that the Stockholm embassy was ”observing” Syrian dissidents living in Sweden and "monitoring" them so they could be jailed on return to Syria.

“A diplomat from the embassy used to send reports on the dissidents to the Secret Services in Syria. They then sent the reports to me so I could verify them. I used to either say to the Secret Service that the reports were not true or I ignored them,” Imadi told the newspaper.

He claimed that the situation was something that was usually a designated job of one individual.

“Usually there is someone at each embassy who’s responsible for this. In Sweden there was a diplomat who made sure that people who were considered to be dissidents were monitored,” he told Dagens Nyheter (DN).

Imadi described how “ordinary people” would work as informants, giving information to a diplomat outside of the embassy in return for money or benefits upon return to Syria.

When asked as to whether he thinks the espionage still occurs today, Imadi said he is convinced it does.

“It must do, there is always someone at the embassy with this function. It is an important job at the embassy,” he told DN.

Meanwhile, he claims that Sweden can help combat the regime in Syria by providing humanitarian assistance through Sweden’s good contacts and high influence with the EU.

However, the goal is clear, according to Imadi, who told DN what he considered to be the most important focus right now:

“To ensure the regime in Syria disappears and that democracy can be introduced, and that the country can become free so everyone can live there with dignity and without being harassed by security forces.”


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