Apr. 16, 2005

United States: trade in torture

United States: trade in torture

This is a story of private jets flying out of Germany, of kidnappings on European streets, and of torture. It has a cast of lawyers, spies, suspected terrorists, innocent bystanders and an ex-CIA boss who believes that ‘human rights is a very flexible concept’.

By Stephen Grey

ASWEDISH immigration lawyer, Kjell J�nsson, was on the phone to a client, asylum seeker Mohamed al-Zery from Egypt, on the afternoon of 18 December 2001. “Suddenly there was a voice coming in, saying to al-Zery to end the telephone conversation,” J�nsson recalls. “It was the Swedish police, who had arrested him.”

J�nsson had requested the Swedish government to promise that there would be no quick decision on Zery’s application for refugee status: he feared that Zery would be tortured if sent back to Cairo. But Zery was expelled in the shortest time that J�nsson had encountered in 30 years of asylum work.

Five hours after the arrest of Zery and another Egyptian, Ahmed Agiza, both were deported from Stockholm’s Br�mma airport. It was not revealed for another two years that there had been a US plane at the airport, plus a team of US agents who, it has been claimed, picked up the suspects, manacled their wrists and ankles, dressed them in orange overalls, drugged them, and bundled them into the plane.

J�nsson said the US team “were wearing black hoods and they had no uniforms; they were wearing jeans. The Swedish security police described them as very professional.” The whole operation took less than 10 minutes. “It was obvious that they have done things like this before.”"

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