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Swedish TV4 Kalla Fakta Program: "The Broken Promise", Part II

(English Transcript) Monday, 24th May, 2004

Participants:  
Paul Forell, police inspector  
Hans Dahlgren, Swedish vice foreign minister  
Arne Andersson, Swedish Security Police, Säpo, responsible for the expulsion  
Diaa Rashwan, expert on islamistic movements, head of the research institute Al-Ahram  
Kjell Jönsson, Mohammed Al Zery´s Swedish lawyer  
Hanan Attia, wife of Ahmed Agiza  
Anders Järliden, friend of the family, head of the environment office,  
Storfors municipality  
Bo Jonasson, Hanan Attia's lawyer  
Julia Hall, Counsel in the Europe and Central Asia Division at Human Rights Watch  

At 16.48 on December 18th 2001, Ahmed Agiza is picked up by the police on his way home from a course in Swedish in the city of Karlstad, western Sweden. A few minutes later Säpo, the Swedish security police, arrest Muhammad Al Zery in a shop in Stockholm. They are taken into waiting cars and driven towards Bromma airport in Stockholm. So far, this is a seemingly all-Swedish police action.  
 
But the picture soon changes.  
 
Our program Kalla fakta´s (Cold facts) reporters have spoken with many sources who were present at Bromma airport on the night of 18th December. All want to be anonymous – all except one who now dares to come forward and tell what he saw.  
 
Part I: The Key Witness  
 
VO: Well, it all started with the colleagues from SÄK ( Säpo, the Security police) calling and ask if we can help…with our localities etcetera, because two arrested men, suspected of terrorism, are on their way in. And of course we oblige and help our colleagues.  
 
Speaker: Paul Forell, a policeman with 25 years professional experience, is a key witness to the incident. He is stationed at Bromma airport, and was on duty this very night.  
 
Paul Forell: Well, after a while came the Security police, my colleagues, by our entrance door here, and after another five, ten minutes came two American colleagues, in civilian suits, and we stood there for a while, talking.  
 
Speaker: The Americans in plain clothes suits are about 35 years, by rough estimate. They come through the entrance, that faces the parking space. They introduce themselves with Christian names, and Paul Forell´s memory picture is that they are from the American embassy. Together, the men wait for the expected transport –it takes about 20 minutes.  
 
Speaker: The Security police´s cars drive up to gate K at Bromma. They are let in and conducted to the Police station by the airport´s security officer.  
 
Paul Forell: Well, they were parked just outside here. Just outside, and that´s a question of just a couple of metres away. That´s where they put their vehicles, just behind our police car. Well, then came this party in here, with the arrested men, into the station, and everything went very fast. The arrested men were dressed in their own clothes, if I don´t remember all wrong. Of course they were…they had handcuffs and footcuffs on.  
 
Q: Who took the arrested men in?  
Paul Forell: Americans…The Americans. The Swedish policemen stayed behind in the outer, public premises. They were three-four men to each of the arrested, and as far as I know they were normally dressed, that is jeans, and…shirt, and then they had hoods on. The Americans had hoods on when they came. I showed them in, briefly. And as I have understood, the arrested men had their clothes changed in the interior of our localities.  
 
Speaker: So, in the little police station are now an interpreter and about eight American agents in the changing-rooms in the interior, plus another two, the ones in suits, in the office room. There are also a number of policemen from Säpo, and another few from the ordinary police, and an interpreter. Plus Paul Forell, the only one in uniform.  
 
Paul Forell: Well, my first thought here....what is this? That was my first thought, I think, and the next was, I suppose, that these must be very dangerous men they have arrested, so I kept myself a bit in the background. There was hardly room for me in my own station.  
 
Speaker: Paul Forell stands in the office room , and from there he can´t see or hear what happens in the changing-room, but other sources Kalla fakta´s reporters have been in contact with tell:  
 
The arrested men are placed here, in the police station´s changing-room. Foot- and handcuffs are still in place when their clothes are cut apart. When the men are naked, suppositories of an unknown kind are inserted into their anuses–one wittness concludes that it is a sedatory. The men have diapers put on them, and then dark overalls, blindfold and a hood over the head.  
 
Q: Who were with the arrested men in the changing-rooms?  
Paul Forell: Well, as I understood it, they were Americans, those with hoods on.  
 
Q: Who were in command?  
Paul Forell: As far as I can remember, it was someone among the guys who wore masks. They were very professionl in their way of acting, and if you´d compare with anything it would be the National action force (Swedish elite police unit for special actions). They acted very deftly, swiftly and silently.  
 
Q: They had done this before?  
Paul Forell: Yes, absolutely, absolutely.  
 
Q: What do the arrested men look like when they are taken out?  
Paul Forell: When they left the changing-room, they had their clothes changed into overalls, and were still with handcuffs and footcuffs. They were taken out to the cars, and then away.  
 
Speaker: The plane is some hundred metres away. It is a small jet–a Gulfstream 5, with register markings N379P – and, as Kalla fakta could reveal last week, it is flying for the US Department of Defense. One of the prisoners is placed lying on the floor with hands and feet cuffed together behind his back. The other is strapped fast in the cabin, with his hands over his head. The two arrested Egyptians, about eight American agents and two Swedish police from Säpo take off from Bromma at 21.49.  
 
Paul Forell: Well, after that my Swedish colleagues and the two Americans in suits are still here. As I recall it, they were around for another five to ten minutes at the most, and then they left the station by the entrance door.  
 
Speaker: At 03.00, the American plane lands in Cairo. The expulsion has been carried out. The two arrested men are taken to the Egyptian security service, where the interrogations start, the very same night. It will be five weeks before the Swedish embassy will come to visit them.  
 
Paul Forell: There was one thing I kept thinking of a little, it is a little extraordinary that we had not been contacted about the plane, because all aircraft that come from non-Schengen countries are to contact the Police, and no one informed us that an American plane would land at Bromma.  
 
Q: What conclusions do you draw from that?  
Paul Forell: Well, that there was much too much hush…hush!  
 
Part 2: Terrorist Background  
 
Hans Dahlgren (radio interview at TV4, morning of May 18th, 2004): These are not just any Egyptians. The reason for their expulsion was their leading positions in an infamous terrorist organization.  
 
Hans Dahlgren (interviewed in Kalla fakta, May 17th, 2004): They had held leading positions in a terrorist organization.  
 
Speaker: They were not just any Egyptians. They were terrorist leaders. That is the Swedish governments´s message. The foundations for that came from the Swedish security police, Säpo, which in its turn had it from foreign intelligence services.  
 
Arne Andersson: All in all, there was no ground for us to believe anything else than that this was correct. We have such a mutual trust within and between security services, that if we get information we can as a rule trust it.  
 
Speaker: Kalla fakta can´t decide whether the men are terrorists or not. But it would be possible to examine Säpo´s basis for this assertion. But the details are secret, even to the accused themselves. Kalla fakta has, after several hour-long interviews with both the Swedish Foreign office and Säpo been informed about parts of the foundations. This shows, after a scrutiny, serious flaws. Ahmed Agiza is accused by the Foreign office of being mixed up in, possibly convicted of, the murder of the Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in 1981. But that is wrong. He is not convicted - not even suspected in this connection. But, he is convicted by a military court in Cairo for membership in the outlawed organization Tala´e Alfath, with connections to the Egyptian islamic Jihad.  
 
By telephone:  
 
Diaa Rashwan: I don´t think that they are right. Ahmed Agiza left the Egyptian Jihad for ever in 1993 after a crisis, a big crisis, about the leadership and the behaviour of the leadership in Egyptian Jihad.  
 
Speaker: Diaa Rashwan is one of the Arab world´s leading experts on radical islamistic groups, och and head of the respected research institute Al–Ahram (Ah-hram) in Cairo.  
 
By telephone:  
 
Diaa Rashwan: For me and many other specialists we have no trust in judging people in military courts. It means that they don´t have the normal right to defend themselves. Countering the accusations, to be a leader of Tala´e Alfath, Ahmed Agiza was never a leader of Tala´e Alfath.  
 
Speaker: Agiza is said to have had contacts high up in Al Qaida, and it is quite right that he knows Ayman Al Zawahiri, today the second man in the movement, next to Usama Bin Laden. Agiza and Al Zawahiri were active in radical islamistic movements in Egypt during the 80´s, and also met later under Agiza´s exile in Pakistan in the middle of the 90´s.  
 
By telephone:  
 
Diaa Rashwan: Sure they met. But to meet someone doesn´t mean that you agree with them or that you cooperate with them. As far as Ahmed Agiza is concerned, he might have had radical ideas all the time. But that doesn´t mean that you are a terrorist.  
 
Speaker: Swedish Säpo doesn´t have any information about later contacts between Agiza and Zawahiri. And Agiza has on several occasions dissociated himself from Zawahiri and his ideology of violence.  
 
Q: Then what about the other man – Mohammed Al Zery? Säpo says that he is convicted of crime in Egypt. That is also wrong, he was suspected of crime, but is now acquitted by Egyptian authorities and set at liberty.  
Kjell Jönsson: If he had had a leading position in a terrorist organization, it is absolutely unthinkable that the Egyptian state would set him at liberty and declare him innocent. So, this is a fundamental misjudgment forn the government´s side.  
 
Hans Dahlgren(interviewed in TV4 news programme, on May 18th, 2004): They were also suspected of preparing further terrorist actions, here on Swedish ground.  
 
Hans Dahlgren(interviewed on radio may 18th, 2004): The suspicion that was clearly put to the Swedish government was that they were, on Swedish territory, preparing further terrorist acts.  
 
Hans Dahlgren(from Kalla fakta, TV4, May 17th, 2004): They were suspected of preparing further terrorist attacks, here from Swedish territory.  
 
Speaker: So, the Foreign office now says that the men were planning terror acts abroad with Sweden as their base, which is a serious crime according to Swedish law. But Säpo, who was investigating the two men for months, did not find any proof of criminal acitivites. Säpo didn´t even do a house search in their homes to seize material evidence, like Agiza´s computer. It is still in his flat in Karlstad.  
 
Q: If the men were engaged in activities that threatened state and public security, why are they not brought to justice in Sweden?  
Arne Andersson: Well, it doesn´t have to go as far as to criminal activites, it can be on the verge, sometimes. And this security risk, it, it was in their very background itself. Leading positions within terror organizations, connections to Al Qaida, and so on. They were suspected of preparing further terrorist attacks here, from Swedish territory.  
 
Kjell Jönsson: This is an accusation, a very serious accusation of crime. If, at that time, when he was expelled, there was a reasonable suspicion of such criminiality, then he should be informed about the suspicion, and he should have a chance to defend himself. There is, I mean, no ground for this. To inspire fear is, I think not worthy of the Swedish government, as a method of defence when you are in a tight corner.  
 
Speaker: On location in Cairo, Kalla fakta tries to get an interview with the imprisoned Ahmed Agiza. But the authorities refuse.  
 
Live (in arabic): Close the wicket! Close the wicket!  
 
Speak: But through Agiza´s mother we take home a message from him. He dictated it to her when she was last permitted to see him: "I am not part of any terrorist acitvity in any form. And my repudiation of Ayman Al Zawaheri and Usama Bin Laden is a well-known fact in islamistic circles." And he appeals to the Swedish government to let his family stay in Sweden. "…so that they can grow up and be brought up with Swedish values, principles and moral codes."  
 
Part 3  
 
Hanan Attia: I am afraid. If some of the children are a little bit late, I say OK, they picked them from the streeet. Why I live in that? Why my children must be afraid all the day? What I do? I don´t hurt anybody. I don´t believe I am in Sweden really.  
 
Speaker: Two and a half years have lapsed since Hanan Attia last saw her husband, and the five children their father, Ahmed Agiza. In the family album, there are memories from for instance Iran, and the English-language school the children went to there.  
 
Live: I remember this American lady (a teacher)  
 
Speaker: The eldest son was only three when the family fled Egypt in 1991. The family has since led a roving life in Pakistan, Syria, and Iran, before it came to Sweden in 2000. The youngest daughter, Kinana, is born here in Karlstad.  
 
Hanan Attia: I came here and feel trustful and I don´t want a lot from the world, I want a safe place to grown up children in good environment to be benefit person.  
 
Live (at the cottage):  
-I am the one who does the most fishing.  
-Have you won any competition, Hussein?  
-No, but I am the on who does the most fishing!  
 
Speaker: We have chosen not to show the faces of the elder children, out of consideration for their daily life at school. Anders Järliden is one of the Swedes who actively support the family.  
 
Anders Järliden: I see them every day, almost. I see children who are professional, I would almost say, to put their heads in the sand like ostrichs, to pretend for their own survival that the problems aren´t there. To manage daily life at school, and with friends, and generally. But under the surface they are  
naturally very torn.  
 
Speaker: A week ago, Kalla fakta could present information, from several pieces of witness evidence, and even from original documents, that Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed Al Zery have beeen subjected to systematical torture, by electricty among other things, in Egypt. Hanan and the children also run great risks if they are expelled.  
 
Arne Andersson: They will not have a chance to support themselves, they can´t get work down there, they will be a sort of ostracized parias who will  
forever have to fear being called to interrogations, with all that may mean.  
 
Hanan Attia: We are at risk to be arrested, and it´s a great risk, not a small risk. And we are at risk to be tortured and at risk to be used against him, to put a pressure over him.  
 
Speaker: The prerequisite-in the Government´s decision for the expulsion of the family is the so called guarantee against torture, and inhuman treatment and unfair trial – the guarantee that the Swedish government now, after Kalla fakta´s scrutiny, has admitted that Egypt has broken.  
 
Hanan Attia: They saw what is going on with Ahmed, and they want to send us to the same situation, you understand? I don´t understand how they can protect us.  
 
Arne Andersson There is only one consequence to draw, and that is to immediately see to it that the family is given a safe haven in Sweden.  
 
Speaker: But to the UN committe on Human rights, which has examined the matter, the Swedish government has stated that the assurances given by Egypt are sufficient, and are being respected to the full.  
 
Graphics:  
"The Government has had no information which casts doubts over this conclusion."  
 
(From the Swedish government´s letter to the UN 6th May 2003)  
 
Speaker: But this is not correct. Already at the Swedish ambassador´s first visit in the prison, in January 2002, Agiza told how he and Al Zery had been blindfolded all the time, not been permitted to sleep, about beatings and maltreatment, during weeks of interrogation. Statements that the Swedish government immediately stamped Secret, but that Kalla fakta could reveal last week.  
 
Julia Hall: Everything that they told him amounts to torture and ill treatment. The only conclusiosn I can draw from that is that the Swedish government did not want to admit publicly that the men had been tortured or ill treated upon return. To do so would mean in fact that they had violated the torture principle.  
 
Speaker: Even in front of another UN body, the UN Committee against torture, Sweden chose not to give account of what the men had told.  
 
Graphics:  
"To the Swedish ambassador Ahmed Agiza conveyed no complaint about torture, or how he had been treated."  
 
(From the Swedish government´s letter to UN 8th of March 2002.)  
 
Bo Jonasson Yes, information has been withheld, vital information. Their (the authorities´) duty is to present all the material they have, and this they haven´t done.  
 
Q: What is your view on that?  
Bo Jonasson: That is serious, of course.  
 
Kjell Jönsson: There was information from the start about physical violence, and about such treatment that is classified as inhuman and degrading, and about torture. Then they (the authorities) have gone on and deceived and lied to the Swedish controlling body, the Government´s constitutional committee, and then they have gone on internationally in front of UN´s committee against torture, and the committee that safeguards human rights. You can hardly believe that it´s true. That this can happen in Sweden.  
 
Speaker: Kalla fakta has asked the Foreign office to comment on the criticism. The Foreign office has referred to its head of legal and judicial matters, Carl-Henrik Ehrenkrona, but says that he can´t comment on the matter, because he has been away for the weekend, and has not had access to the Foreign office´s documents.  
 
Hanan Attia: If she will hear me as example, foreign minister, or migration minister, both of them is ladies. What they can feel if they have five children like me and live in that situation for that long of time. What they can feel? If they feel that their children be in danger to be tortured or to be lost everything.  

 

 
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