Pakistan: Swedish terrorist suspects previously arrested

Pakistan: Swedish terrorist suspects previously arrested

In a recent case in Kenya, four Dutch citizens were suspected of being involved in terrorism. Though the four had previously been involved in radical activities and one had been previously arrested on his way to Jihad, they were set free due to lack of evidence.

And now, a similar case in Pakistan. Three Swedish citizens (and one baby) were arrested in Pakistan as part of a group suspected of being involved in terrorism. One is a former Guantánamo prisoner also known as the 'Finnish Taliban'. The other two are a couple who had been previously arrested in Somalia. The wife is the daughter of a Swedish convert who heads Sweden's Muslim Council. When last arrested she was pregnant. This time around, she brought her child with her. Apparently she was there to serve as cover and to prevent the group from being stopped by the police. According to Helena Benaouda, the girl's mother, her daughter was supposed to be in Saudi Arabia in order to celebrate Ramadan. Maybe she got on the wrong bus?

The three are now supposedly being interrogated by MI6, the British Intelligence Service. (Kvällsposten)


Pakistan's foreign ministry on Wednesday confirmed that four Swedish citizens are sitting in prison in the capital Islamabad, three weeks after their arrest in the north of the country.

The news reached Sweden's foreign ministry via Sweden's ambassador to Pakistan, Ulrika Sundberg, who visited the Pakistani ministry where she received a diplomatic note on the matter.

"In the note, the Pakistanis discuss who was arrested and they have also given a promise that the embassy will be allowed to visit them in the coming days according to normal consular procedures," Swedish foreign ministry spokesperson Anders Jörle told the TT news agency.

The Swedes being held in Pakistan include Mehdi Ghezali, who spent two years in Guantánamo Bay following his 2001 arrest in Afghanistan, as well as 28-year-old Munir Awad and 19-year-old Safia Benaouda, and their two and a half-year-old boy.

Awad and Benaouda, who was pregnant at the time, were arrested in Kenya in 2007 after fleeing Somalia following the invasion of troops from Ethiopia.

They were held in an Ethiopian prison for three months on suspicions of being connected with Somali jihadists fighting against Ethiopia, but no formal charges were ever brought against them. Afterwards Benaouda claimed that investigators from the American FBI and CIA had been granted permission to question the prisoners.

They were eventually released following protests from the Swedish foreign ministry and the security service Säpo.

Until Wednesday, Pakistan has said that all of the people arrested on a bus on August 28th were terror suspects. Police say they got the impression that the group of foreigners, which included the Swedes, were in the company of a Pakistani man with military training who was suspected of involvement in terrorism.

His alleged mission was to take the foreigners from the city of Quetta to Miranshah, the main city in the lawless region of northern Waziristan, where they were to meet an alleged Taliban leader named Zahir Noor.


Source: The Local (English)

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