The Gothenburg resident suspected of conspiring to commit terrorist acts might have been lured to Somalia. He and his girlfriend called home and said they had no choice but to stay with the terrorist movement. Either he managed to escape or he got orders from al-Shabaab which he was supposed to carry out in Sweden, says an acquaintance of the family.
The 22 year old, who is a Swedish citizen but is originally from Somalia, was changed on May 21 in the Gothenburg court of conspiring to commit terrorist acts in Gothenburg, other places in Sweden and Somalia.
This article was prepared by the Islam in Europe blog - islamineurope.blogspot.com
"He feels well, considering the circumstances," says his lawyer, Richard Backenroth.
he 22 year old told the prison service that he's a practicing Muslim. He reads the Koran, prays five times a day and goes to the mosque every Friday.
The man was born in Saudi Arabia and came to Sweden when he was two. He grew up in Gothenburg, attended a science program in high-school and graduated in 2006. A year later he got married with a 15 year old girl according to the Muslim tradition. The couple has a daughter.
After he finished school he worked as a truck driver, warehouse worker, newspaper delivery man and telephone salesman.
When he came back from Somalia, he told the prison service that he went to Somalia to get 'breathing space' and to get away from his money problems. He has 18,270 kroner of debts in unpaid telephone and broadband bills and more on the way.
He also says that he suffered from a severe infection in Somalia which left him unable to speak or walk.
GT met a female friend of the family. Her statements differ from those of the 22 year old's mother, who told the media that her son was innocent. About a year ago he, his 16 year old girlfriend and the couple's little daughter, all traveled to Somalia. A country in anarchy, where nobody goes on holiday...
Before that, the man had been brainwashed by recruiters in Gothenburg.
"He fought for al-Shabaab down there," says the woman. The first time he called his mother, he said that God loved him and that it was better to fight than to be in Sweden. He mother was totally shocked.
The son called again one more time, and this time the tone was different.
"He said, 'momma, they deceived me. I have no choice."
His girlfriend called and confirmed the case, that they and many others were deceived. In March the family returned to Gothenburg.
"I don't know how they managed to get back home again. They kill you if you try to escape," says the woman. Maybe they gave him a task in Sweden?
GT formerly reported how young Swedes of Somali background who are persuaded to fight for the terrorist movement, or are convinced to become suicide bombers. Several exiled Somalis expressed great concern that extreme Islamists are getting control of their children, which they meet in mosques and on the internet.
Säpo (Swedish security service) confirms that representatives of al-Shabaab are active in Sweden, that about 20 Swedish citizens were recruited to fight and that a handful of young men with Swedish passports were found dead in Somalia.
The woman from West-Sweden describes how the recruiters collect money among the Somalis, Arabs and Iranians. That the money allegedly goes to humanitarian aid, but is really used for al-Shabaab's terror activities.
She herself forbade her sons from going to the mosque.
"I noticed that they were being influenced, they didn't listen to me any longer, didn't obey".
It's easy to influence the youth, she says. Especially those who are failing in school and don't get a job. A life with al-Shabaab and a promise for a place in paradise suddenly becomes an alternative.
"But how can you move to the hell in Somalia when you can live in peace and quiet here in Sweden?" she asks.
Säpo is interrogating the 22 year old. He told the police of his time in his homeland. What he said is secret and all those involved are banned from speaking about it.
The case is supposed to get to court June 18th, but will probably be postponed.