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Swedish-Eritrean funds end Egypt torture ordeal

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17:03 CEST+02:00
Four Eritrean men have been freed from a torture camp in Egypt after money raised in Sweden was used to buy their way out.

The four men, aged 20-38-years-old, had lost hope of being freed from their kidnappers - a gang of Bedouins in the Sinai desert.

But following the release of an 8-year-old girl and her parents after a fund-raising campaign organized by Eritrean exiles in Sweden, there was sufficient money to free the four men.

The men had spent 4.5 months in the camp and according to a TT news agency report, were subjected to torture on a daily basis.

Eritreans living in Sweden are routinely targeted by kidnappers who blackmail them into paying for the freedom of relatives and fellow nationals.

Pressure is mounting on the Swedish government to act to intervene in the situation which is proving to be a very lucrative trade in human beings in the region.

Thousands of Eritreans are thought to have been tortured and killed in Bedouin camps in the Sinai peninsula and several Swedish-Eritreans have been blackmailed for ransoms running into thousands of dollars.

The 8-year-old and her family freed in March required the payment of $40,000, while the freedom of the four men released over the weekend could be bought for $15,000.

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