Two Swedes Renditioned To The US, Possibly To Death Penalty, In Secrecy And Without Lawyers' Knowledge

Mid-November, two Swedish citizens with Somali origins were renditioned from Djibouti to a prison in the United States of America.

According to the US, they are hardened terrorists. According to other people, they tried to leave the terrorist-branded organization al-Shabaab. What’s true there is unclear. But that’s not the point that makes us interested in the story.

An representative of United States Intelligence Services is reported to have told the two Swedes that “We’re waiting for permission from Swedish authorities to take you to the United States”. This is something that the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs first didn’t want to be associated with, and later declines any and all forms of comment.

Here, we have a natural and special interest, as the two men are Swedish citizens. Are they suspected of committing an act which carries criminal penalties in Sweden – and if so, should they not be indicted and prosecuted in Sweden? Or has the Swedish government given the USA a carte blanche to “take care of” two Swedish citizens in the name of the war on terror – and if so, on what grounds? (Further, the suspicions concern acts committed in Somalia, where the US doesn’t have jurisdiction.)

Suspicions of terror or not – the process of law must be respected, and international law followed. The government has no right to throw people into dark dungeons without a proper trial. We have a right to demand some form of damn order here.

This affair has a distinct image of not having respected due process. This image is further strengthened by the fact that the two Swedes’ lawyers and relatives were kept in the dark for several weeks about what had already happened.

If Sweden has agreed to rendition two people – Swedish citizens or not – to the United States of America within the context of what’s known as extraordinary renditions, this affair goes far beyond the questions about the formal due process. In such a case, it’s necessary to ask how much the Swedish governments’ promises are worth, when they promise to not extradite people to countries where they risk torture or death. This is a question that’s current and relevant in other cases, for example, regarding the Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

This affair smells really bad…

Read More: Washington Post [in English], Svenska Dagbladet [in Swedish].

UPDATE: The lawyer of the two Swedes was informed of the rendition on December 7, about three weeks after the fact. When the lawyer was informed, and only then, were relatives informed. This has eerie similarities with banana-republic “disappearances”.

This article was originally published in Swedish on Hax’ blog. Translated into English by Rick Falkvinge.


  1. Henrik Ingo

    Well, but the banana republics were very much ran under CIA supervision too, so it’s not that surprising…

    1. NATUREEEEE goulet

      What do clothes have to do with this? What a idiot.

      1. Crawsome

        I sure hope you’re kidding.

        Just in case you don’t actually know…

  2. Anonymous

    what this shows, more than anything is the lengths the USA will go to to achieve what they want but even more disgustingly, the contempt the Swedish government has towards it’s own people, the lack of interest in protecting it’s own people and exactly how far it will go to please the USA government and USA law enforcement! is it any wonder that there have been so many concerns over what would happen to Assange if he is deported from the UK? Sweden has become nothing less than a USA bitch, bending over and grabbing ankles when told, just like the UK. whoever is responsible for this outrageous behaviour (and i wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t the same person that was responsible for TPB spectrial) needs to be arrested and punished severely!

    1. Dangit

      Please get a clue.


      /The rest of the world

      1. .

        I know it’s easier to be an idiot in a crowd of idiots, but please don’t claim to speak for the rest of the world. Most of us aren’t that dense.

      2. Amalgovinus

        Back in August of last year there was an article being tossed between MSM sites with a six-point argument on why Sweden would NEVER extradite assange. it wouldn’t surprise me if you bought into that bullshit then, given that you disagree with the plain truths in the post you just responded to..

    2. Anonymous

      Don’t you feel safer with these people in prison though? Do you think that these Somalis give a shit about you?? LOL, you’re so niave. This is a cold fucking world and we need tough people to deal with bad people.

      1. No

        Tough people are the problem. Tough people aren’t the solution. I don’t feel any safer in a world where justice takes a back seat to pragmatism. It makes me feel decidedly less safe.

      2. Grant

        You’re the kind of timid person who is easily convinced that he needs a tough daddy to protect him from bogeyman. This belief is what drives a country into the arms of leaders like Putin and Stalin; ‘iron men’ who keep you ‘safe’ with an iron fist.

      3. Anonymous

        If they’ve committed a crime, extradite them to somewhere with appropriate jurisdiction, and let them be charged and tried there. If they haven’t, but are dangerously insane, handle them under mental health laws. If they’re just a bit questionable, then they could have been refused citizenship – it is a two-way deal, after all.

      4. Andreas Ottosson

        Well apparently _you_ don’t give a shit about _them_.

        But hey, let’s just assume everyone we don’t know are terrorists. That’ll be fun.

    3. Wikileaks is Patriotic

      Yes, Sweden, an intelligent and insightful Swede visiting the US told me, is the US’s lap dog.

      These to instances of secret kidnapping supports his opinion. No wonder that Assange would rather hole up in an embassy closet than be questioned by the US Patriot Act whose key phrase is “material support” and the NDAA 2012 whose key word is “belligerent.”

      Rightwinger Sen. Lindsey Graham proclaimed that the whole of the US is bona fide war zone, thus giving the two acts full jurisdiction, so, this means that the two Swedes will come under strict control of the two acts, likely winding up in a military brig because the military can now operate care free withig US borders, thus abrogating the Posse Comitatus, perhaps becoming innocent Private Bradley Manning’s neighbors.

  3. Caleb Lanik

    I hate so many aspects of my government at this point. Once would hope that elections would make a difference, but when there are only two parties, and both are in agreement about civil rights being unnecessary in a “post 9/11 world” they do nothing. Rick, the Pirate Party has gained a reasonable amount of influence in Europe, but had considerably less luck achieving results in the U.S. In part this is because of the first past the post system that we use here, but also I think because of the lack of real organizational efforts here. Certainly something should be done about the civil right’s violations by the U.S. government, but this article advocates no specific course of action. What do you recommend?

    1. TTime

      Our thoughts are with you.

      Do they know it’s Christmas (in America)?

    2. Andrew Norton

      The problem is mainly to do with the people who are leading it. I gave up on it, because they refused to actually DO anything, instead it’s mired in bureaucracy, and with making the people at the top feel important, with outreaches to the media, and public meetings that they ‘chair’.

      However, those self-same people were given 6 months to write a new Constitution. That’s ALL they had to do, and all they were allowed to do.

      So what DID they do? They decided that the party would have a color (purple, despite purple already being associated with something and the established state parties using Orange) and that the website needed doing. Oh and since they were busy doing that, they didn’t actually manage to get the one thing they were supposed to do, done in time, so they decided to give themselves more time (despite the fact they were given a hard deadline because soft ones hadn’t worked)

      Right now, it’s led by a bunch of incompetents who are not about getting stuff done, but are about being SEEN to ‘do things’, I guess so they can have a Wikipedia page and think themselves as ‘important’.

      1. Anyone

        it sounds like they already are professional politicians

      2. Caleb Lanik

        This tracks with my opinion of the US PP as well, though as I live in the midwest where they have no presence of any kind I have not observed there actions directly. Unfortunately, it still leaves no organization or leadership of any kind for American Pirates. To a certain extent we seem to have fallen into the same rut that OWS did, by not being somewhat selective about membership we have ended up giving power only to those least deserving of it. Come to think of it, the entire US seems to have managed that, too.

  4. Neverhood

    Team America: World Police theme song playing in the background – “America! Fuck yeah! Coming again, to save the mother fucking day yeah”.

    1. Klogg


  5. Peter Andersson

    I would be very careful touching this case without all the remaining facts, remember how Göran Persson used the prime ministers plane to bring home that “innocent” guy from Guantanamo to make PR points for our Social Democrats, only to see him go to Pakistan to pick up his terrorist carreer where he left off as soon as he could get on another plane by his own accord?

    So as for these Somali origin Swedes – How long have they been citizens in our country? What reasons did they give to get citizenship (it’s not like we’re handing them out to Africa any more now that FP is trying to take votes from SD)? And even if they were legitimite refugees and not fake, how come they were able to travel back to that Somalia they had risked their lifes fleing from in the first place?

    1. Peter Andersson

      Additional: I’m not writing this from a racist perspective, if you interpreted it in that way I’ll be very disappointed (in fact, I’m feeling a bit disappointed already for feeling the need to even write this disclaimer), I first joined PP in 2006 and I think citizen issues are important, with current politics however PP needs to able to answer such questions as those above before that eighth party picks up the ball, last time Somalies made the news for being harrasted (in Forshaga I believe) that party gained some two percent in the next poll just for keeping saying it was their own fault and noone contradicting them after the old media reporters and photografers went home.

      1. AB

        I feel bad on how you could be labeled as a racist, when I was in Sweden I saw a lot of refugees misbehaving and doing really bad stuff. I remember once how a lady was immediately labeled as a “racist” when she kindly asked if she could have one of the first seats on a bus, the guy started saying that she was using her “whiteness” to get the seat and that she felt better just because of that, when a guy stepped in he was also labeled as a racist. Walking with my wife in Malmo (she’s Swedish) I got some middle eastern and african guys telling me that it was good i was contributing to the extermination of the whites by taking their women (I am Mexican, they sometimes thought i was middle eastern). Not all of the refugees are bad of course, I met some really nice people , but Sweden must be harder on who they let in.

  6. Links 4/1/2013: Bodhi 2.2.0, Semplice Linux 3.0 | Techrights

    […] Two Swedes Renditioned To The US, Possibly To Death Penalty, In Secrecy And Without Lawyers’ Knowl… Mid-November, two Swedish citizens with Somali origins were renditioned from Djibouti to a prison in the United States of America. […]

  7. […]… Be Sociable, Share! Tweet Posted in Press Reports | Tags: extradition, human rights, Julian Assange, justice, Secrecy, Sweden, Swedish citizens, US […]

  8. Monica Sosnowiec

    Let’s say two “Swedish” Germans step in to a bar in Denmark and allegedly conspires to kill Americans in Germany. So the danish bartender throws them out and US authorities grabs them. Who Gives a Shit in Sweden.

  9. BAReFOOt

    The worst part, is that I can already see the Ameritards, e.g. from Reddit or Slashdot, justifying this somehow with their “’MERICA” reality distortion. I bet they will even say things like “Oh well, they were black anyway, and actually they were Somalian.”, as if that would make it OK. Completely ignoring everything important… as usually.

    1. Jimbo

      Really? You think the massive, liberal pool of redditors are being serious when they say, “MURICA” in response to things like this? Have you ever spent more than 12 seconds reading comments on political articles on reddit? Do you understand irony or satire? I mean, good God. America has its fair share of racists and biggots, but very few of them can be found on reddit. You need a lesson in interpreting sarcasm.

      1. Pregnant_pause

        What if I told you BAReFOOt was being sarcastic?

        1. William Lee

          I don’t buy it. He may be mistaken about Reddit, but he’s right on the money about Libertarian Slashdot, sadly.

      2. Fred Fnord

        > America has its fair share of racists and biggots, but very few of them can be found on reddit.

        Now THERE speaks someone who has never spent more than thirty seconds in the comments of Reddit.

        Not to say that Reddit is much more racist, sexist, or homophobic than the rest of the US. Just that anonymity and a sympathetic crowd bring out the worst in people.

  10. Squirrelmh

    Sigh,. As an American, I am afraid this is a particularly ugly aspect of my country of birth. We have a tendency to assume that a ‘war on terrorism’ justifies almost any abuse. I recall with disgust a long and convoluted argument about how torture wasn’t really torture is ‘we’ did it. The same thing seems to apply to indefinite incarceration without trial or counsel in the name of the same war on terrorism. And it seems unlikely to change anytime in the near future, I am sorry to say.

    1. thecrud

      MacArthur would have only wasted two bullets here.
      Just because your enemies hide and kill from civilian camouflage makes no difference in the way an enemy combatant should be treated.

      1. .

        People that simple would be wielding clubs, not firearms.

  11. Veritas

    Is this journalism?

    Fact: There was no rendition. They were simply moved from Djibouti to the U.S. with the permission of both country’s governments.

    Fact: The Swedish government wasn’t involved in the extradition case. Nor do the U.S. or Djibouti have to involve Sweden. It works the same in Sweden.

    The only mention of a possible foreknowledge from Swedish authorities is one of the accused brothers saying that a U.S. intelligence officer said he had “asked permission from the Swedish government”.

    Was Australia involved in the Assange extradition case?

    Fact: The accused has access to legal help, and they have been in contact with Swedish consulate workers both in New York and Djibouti.

    Fact: They were al-Shabaab fighters and left Sweden in 2008. One of their accomplices, a brit, was stripped of his citizenship because of his involvement in the organization. Al-Shabaab has connections with al-qaida. Read the wikipedia article on them if you want more information. They are not “nice guys”. They are not freedom fighters.

    This article seem to want to make comparisons to the Assange case when there is none.

    1. Malcontent

      It still does not explain why uncle sam is in post bloc and european countries running black prison sites. These sites exist only to detain, hide, torture and break down a kidnapped prisoner.
      Information gathered after water-boarding, cold room etc. IS in reality unusable to any real intelligence agency. The person will always blurt out what the captor wants to hear eventually, whether it be truth or not.
      Torture does not work

  12. thecrud

    Tried to leave, Perhaps should not have joined in the first place.
    What did they think would happen if they got caught.
    This is why I favor blowing them to smithereens with a drone.

  13. Conrad Brean

    This is no surprise. Many nations are following suit in America’s abandonment at the rule of law both internationally and domestically. From the targeting of individuals both American and otherwise, to limitless time lines of detention, the US has evolved into a nation without ethical, moral or legal principles. The great coup of this tragic turn, is that they have depoliticized their population. Rather than be interested in issues of liberty, justice and freedom, the majority of American’s have sold themselves for 10% discounts at Apple Stores. Regardless of the multiplicity of voices outside the United States of Fear, their are few Americans who doubt the rhetoric and propaganda of the War on Terror and the great threat of Islam.

  14. Mr PoopyPantz

    I think those banana republic dudes run a chain of fashion stores as a front….

    1. William Lee

      I know you’re a troll, but I can’t help but shake my head at the appropriateness of Banana Republic chain’s name. “Buy your sweatshop-manufactured goods from Banana Republic!” Sigh…

  15. redbear762

    With the recent approval of the NDAA, US Citizens can be held indefinitely and, according to the Presidential Signing Memo, are also subject to extraordinary rendition for ‘enhanced interrogation’ and torture. They also want to take our guns away so we have no way to fight back.

    To those who voted for the current administration, I need to ask ‘Is *this* the change you wanted??’

  16. clearofthought

    1. Islam is currently suffering from an illness that can only be cured from within
    2. 1-10% of the followers of Islam would love to see the world burn
    3. Western European and English Colonial (WEEC) legal systems are only exceptionally geared towards heinous criminality on a small scale
    4. WEEC have a inherent, and justified distrust of government
    5. There is no trusted sovereign body or legal process that can deal with those in the world that would love to watch it burn
    6. The United Nations and its court are a future hope. The current UN and its court are currently stuck in a political mire that renders both entities tantamount to useless
    7. The United States has proven that it is not totally trustworthy. The US has also proven that it sucks less than the alternative of death and mayhem on a grand scale, of innocent parties, at the hands of the mentally deranged

    If I’ve erred in any points above, please correct me. If there is an expedient alternative to nations protecting themselves and their allies, please, please inform me.

  17. Sergio Mauro

    It is perfectly correct to be worried about two citizens being exposed to a potentially unfair trial.

    However, please don’t rush attacking the swedish government, even if it has already lost its reputation for other reasons and in similar situations.

    Djibouti authorities would be primarily responsible for the rendition, and the swedish diplomacy may be active in trying to protect human rights of the two citizens (!).

    In this context, the “no comment” of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not surprising.

    I’m not sure that CIA would seek Sweden’s authorization for transferring two suspects from Djibouti to the US and there is no proof that such an authorization has ever been granted.

    It would be interesting to specify who has reported the sentence of the representative of the US Intelligence.

    However, I appreciate very much your engagement for human rights and I think you’ re doing a great job in following this case very closely.

  18. UD passiva när Djibouti utlämnade svenskar till USA | Svensson

    […] Det är helt enkelt oacceptabelt att UD passivt ser på när svenska medborgare utvisas till ett annat land, trots att de inte begått nåt brott i något av de land som det handlar om. Inget brott har de begått i USA, inget brott har de begått i Djibouti. Men ändå är de åtalade i USA för för terrorbrott och vapenbrott. […]

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  21. 4 January 2013 | This Day in WikiLeaks

    […] published an article about the secret rendition of two Somali-Swedes to the U.S., noting how it’s relevant to cases such as Julian […]

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