Swedish terror suspect arrested in Pakistan

pakistand-policeSwedish newspaper The Local has revealed that one of the three Swedish suspects arrested in Pakistan on suspicion of ties with Al-Qaeda is Mehdi Ghezali, a former Guantanamo Bay suspect who was released from the prison in 2004.

Ghezali was named on Sevriges Television (SVT) along with several other foreigners including two other Swedes. Pakistan military authorities said: “We confiscated a laptop and USD 10,000 they had with them”. The group was apparently on its way to the Taliban stronghold of Wazirstan near the border with Afghanistan when the arrests occurred at a military checkpoint in the Punjabi town of Dera Ghazi.

Swedish authorities arrested Mehdi Ghezali in 2001 while he was residing in the central city of Orebro near the start of the Afghanistan campaign, after which he was placed into the custody of the US military. Ghezali, referred to by the Swedish journalists as ‘Guantanamo Swede’ spent over two years in the Cuban Guantanamo army base prison for terror suspects. He was never advised the reason for the detention and was never placed on trial. Ghezali was released in 2004 when he returned to Sweden.

Anton Strand, the Swedish attorney for Ghezali, was surprised to learn that his client has again been arrested in Pakistan. “Yes, I’m surprised by it. One should remember that Ghezali has travelled in that region previously and he has an interest in the region. He is religious and has friends and contacts,” Strand told reporters.

The Swedish foreign ministry has refused so far to issue a statement on the incident, although according the embassy in Islamabad has advised that they have not yet received confirmation from Pakistani authorities of the arrests.