Pakistan's Interior Minister Rehman Malik

Foreign Ministry: Swede Held in Pakistan Must Pay For Own Trip Home

The 19-year-old Swedish woman held in Pakistan with her child since August will have to pay her own way home, the Swedish Foreign Ministry has said. The woman was captured together with former Guantanamo detainee Mehdi Ghezali and her husband after allegedly entering the country illegally.

Pakistan’s interior minister revealed on Wednesday that the woman and her child would be released shortly. But sources at Sweden’s Foreign Ministry told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that the woman would not receive financial help from the state because of an unpaid debt to the Ministry stemming from a previous consular incident.

As a 17-year-old, the woman sat in prisons in Somalia and later Ethiopia after being accused of collaboration with terrorists. After the Foreign Ministry worked to secure her release, the woman flew to Sweden together with Swedish Security Service personnel.

The Ministry was never repaid for the flight, however. As a result, the woman cannot take another loan from the Foreign Ministry to pay for a new flight home from Pakistan.

The newspaper Svenska Dagbladet speculates that the incident may partly explain why representatives from neither the Foreign Ministry nor the Swedish Security Service have travelled to Pakistan to lobby for her release.

Instead, the Swede's jailing has been handled as a standard consular matter.


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