Venezuela dismisses Swedish criticism
Venezuela dismisses Swedish criticism regarding the arrest of 54-year-old Swedish citizen, and his extradition to Colombia, where he is suspected of financing and leading the European branch of the Farc-guerilla.
The Swedish Foreign Ministry has questioned why it was not informed of the arrest, but in a press statement, Venezuela's Foreign Minister Nicolás Maduro says his country has done everything by the book, when it comes to a person that it wanted by Interpol. Instead it is Sweden that should be criticised, he told reporters at a press conference, Swedish Radio News reports. "If this person was internationally wanted, why did they allow him to leave the country," Nicolas Maduro asks.
According to the news agency TT, the Swedish Foreign Ministry has still not received a formal reply to its note to the Venezuelan authorities. Sweden will not automatically extradite a person, just because Interpol has issued an arrest warrant, Caolina Ekeus, press spokesperson at the National Criminal Investigation Department, told TT. "The exception is a European arrest warrant, where we have a co-operation," she said.
The news agency also quotes an anonymous source with "insights into international police work" who says that Swedish police will not automatically act if someone is wanted by Interpol. "Certain people can be wanted for reasons we do not accept, for example for purely political reasons," the source tells TT.
The 54-year old was arrested and extradited to Colombia last weekend. Earlier in the week, Swedish embassy staff were present as observers at the court hearing in Bogota. The man has lived in Sweden for 20 years and became a Swedish citizen in 1995. He denies working for Farc, but says that in his role as a journalist, he has spoken to the guerilla. The man is the editor of the opposition news site Anncol.