Mehdi Ghezali
Guantanamo Bay detainee
Mehdi Ghezali
Mehdi Muhammed Ghezali, in media previously known as the Cuba-Swede, is a Swedish citizen of Algerian and Finnish descent who was held as what the United States termed an unlawful combatant at the Guantanamo Bay detainment camp on Cuba between January 2002 and July 2004. Prior to his capture Ghezali attended a Muslim religious school and mosque in the United Kingdom before travelling to Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, and finally ended up in Pakistan where he was captured.
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Correction: Bulgaria-Israelis Attacked story
Yahoo News - over 4 years
JERUSALEM - In a story July 20 that noted Bulgarian authorities had ruled out former Guantanamo detainee Mehdi Ghezali as the bomber in an attack against Israelis, The Associated Press erroneously reported that authorities had earlier identified him as a suspect. Ghezali had been named in media reports, not by Bulgarian authorities.
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USA’s hypocrisy on press freedom, human rights and democracy - Bulawayo24 (press release) (blog)
Google News - over 5 years
Former Guantanamo detainee Mehdi Ghezali was freed without charge on July 9, 2004, after two and a half years internment. Ghezali has claimed that he was the victim of repeated torture. Omar Deghayes alleges he was blinded by pepper spray during his
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Althin om att försvara en hatad person - Göteborgs-Posten
Google News - over 5 years
Mehdi Ghezali, satt inspärrad på Guantánamo i över två år utan att veta varför. Hans lista över avskydda klienter är diger. "Medialt mest besvärligt" var arbetet med att försvara Anna Lindhs mördare Mijailo Mijailovic. Rädslan för att bli nedtrampad av
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WikiLeaks And The Guantanamo Prisoners Released From 2002 to 2004 (Part 3 of 10) - The Public Record
Google News - over 5 years
As I explained in Chapter 7 of The Guantánamo Files, Mehdi Ghezali, who was 22 years old at the time of his capture, told Reuters after his release that he had traveled to Pakistan to study Islam in August 2001, and was visiting a friend in Jalalabad
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“Corrotto”. Wikileaks contro tabloid svedese - News2U
Google News - almost 6 years
Il fatto è capitato quando il giornale ha pubblicato uno scoop su un detenuto svedese di Guantanamo chiamato Mehdi Ghezali. Una faccenda che risale a qualche giorno prima. Martedì il giornale svedese Aftonbladet aveva annunciato che il giorno dopo
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WikiLeaks slams paper after Gitmo Swede leak - The
Google News - almost 6 years
Whistleblower website WikiLeaks has slammed a Swedish tabloid as 'corrupt and politicized' the day after it published a scoop on Swedish Guantanamo detainee Mehdi Ghezali. 31-year-old Ghezali has meanwhile spoken of his wish to put his experiences in
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Wikileaks: Tämä suomalaistaustainen mies "mahdollinen uhka USA:lle" - Ilta-Sanomat
Google News - almost 6 years
Kaksi vuotta vankilassa istunut Mehdi Ghezali vapautettiin Guantánamosta vuonna 2004. Mies kuljetettiin vapauttamisen jälkeen Ruotsiin. Wikileaksin tietojen mukaan Yhdysvallat olisi esittänyt Ruotsille toiveen, jonka mukaan "mies siirrettäisiin toiseen
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Här är sanningen om gripandet av Mehdi Ghezali - Expressen
Google News - almost 6 years
USA höll den svenske medborgaren Mehdi Ghezali inspärrad på Guantanamo i över två år - utan ett enda handfast bevis. Det visar de hemligstämplade dokumenten från den amerikanska försvarsmakten som i dag kan avslöja
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Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Mehdi Ghezali
  • 2012
    Age 32
    Bulgarian media suggested on 19 July 2012 that Ghezali might have been the suicide bomber responsible for the 18 July Burgas bus attack.
    More Details Hide Details The Swedish Security Service responded with a brief statement that Ghezali was not the bomber. Within 48 hours Bulgarian investigators ruled him out as a suspect.
    In July 2012 a day after the Burgas bus bombing Bulgarian media reported that Ghezali was the suicide bomber.
    More Details Hide Details Swedish and Bulgarian officials denied that he was involved in any way and investigators ruled him out as a suspect within 48 hours. Ghezali was featured in the documentary Gitmo – The New Rules of War. Mehdi Ghezali was born in Botkyrka, Stockholm, on 5 July 1979 and grew up in Örebro, the son of an Algerian and a Finnish woman.
  • 2009
    Age 29
    During a 23 November 2009 press conference Ghezali's lawyers offered more details of the trip.
    More Details Hide Details The asserted that Ghezali and his companions had made a last-minute decision, during a tour of middle eastern countries, to alter their plans to include Pakistan in their itinerary. They were told by their tour coordinator that the visas for travel within Pakistan could be arranged upon their arrival. His lawyers expressed concern that Swedish intelligence officials continued to keep Ghezali under surveillance. They expressed concern that the press speculation that his travel to Pakistan had been inspired by support for Islamic extremism was unfair and unsupported by any evidence.
    Rehman Malik Pakistan’s Minister of the Interior had told Swedish diplomats on 6 October 2009 that he would be receiving a formal report on the Swedes on 7 October 2009, and that he would make a decision about their continued detention at that point.
    More Details Hide Details Swedish paper The Local reported one additional anonymous allegation, that the group "were found in a prohibited area near a nuclear power facility." Ulrika Sundberg, the Swedish Ambassador, accompanied the Swedes to their flight. As of the time of their release Swedish officials had still not received a formal report from Pakistan explaining why the four were detained.
    On 16 September 2009 two of Ghezali's traveling companions were identified.
    More Details Hide Details He was reported to have been captured with "28-year-old Munir Awad and 19-year-old Safia Benaouda, and their two and a half-year-old boy." The most recent allegations state the four Swedes were traveling to Miranshah in Waziristan, to meet Zahir Noor, alleged to be a Taliban leader. Ghezali is reported to have explained that the group were traveling to Lahore to participate in what Swedish newspaper The Local described as "a harmless meeting with a Muslim revivalist movement, Tablighi Jamaat." The Swedes were released on 10 October 2009. They were placed on a plane to Sweden at 800 GMT.
    On 10 September 2009, the Swedish television programme Rapport reported that Ghezali was among a group of twelve foreign citizens who had been arrested one week earlier in the Dera Ghazi Khan District in Punjab, Pakistan, on suspicions of having ties to al-Qaeda.
    More Details Hide Details Pakistani security officials reported the 12 men were captured on 28 August 2009. Among the twelve arrested men, three (including Ghezali) were Swedish, seven were Turkish, one was Russian and another one was an Iranian citizen. According to the Pakistani police chief Mohammad Rizwan, the individuals were arrested when they were trying to sneak into the Punjab province through a checkpoint. According to Rizwan, the police had found CDs, exchange money and literature which all indicated links to terrorist activity. Following their arrest, Ghezali and the two other Swedish citizens were moved to Islamabad. Rizwan described Ghezali as "a very dangerous man". Ghezali's attorney, Anton Strand response to the news that Ghezali was reported to have been captured was: “Yes, I’m surprised by it. One should remember that Ghezali has traveled in that region previously and he has an interest in the region. He is religious and has friends and contacts.”
  • 2006
    Age 26
    On 4 July 2006, Ghezali made his first public appearance since his release at a demonstration held outside the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, Sweden.
    More Details Hide Details Ghezali and approximately 60 others called for the closure of the Guantanamo Bay facility. Ghezali, who declined to answer any questions from reporters, and the other demonstrators also appeared in support of Oussama Kassir, the Swedish citizen at the time being held in the Czech Republic for alleged involvement with al-Qaeda. Ghezali is reported to have dropped his suit against the US government. According to The Muslim News: "The Swede eventually found a U.S. firm willing to take the case on, but it dropped out shortly before the deadline for bringing a case expired."
  • 2004
    Age 24
    After being held as an enemy combatant for 930 days Ghezali was released into the custody of the Swedish government on 8 July 2004 since he was no longer considered a threat to the United States, since he had no information that was of interest to the American Intelligence Service and since he had not committed a crime which could be proven in a military court.
    More Details Hide Details Ghezali was transported home by the Swedish Air Force on a Gulfstream IV jet, at the expense of the Swedish government (estimated at 500 000 – 600 000 Swedish kronor). Initially Swedish prosecutors stated that they would press charges against him for crimes committed prior to Ghezali's departure from Sweden, but they were subsequently dropped. There were also threats made against Ghezali, it was perceived that the Swedish government had given Ghezali too much help. Ghezali was the subject of the English-language documentary Gitmo - The New Rules of War. A film about the Guantanamo Bay detention camp by film director Erik Gandini and Tarik Saleh. An article in the Boston Globe, published four months after Ghezali's release from Guantanamo, said he was being "monitored by Swedish intelligence agents". The article also said that Swedish security agents have said Ghezali is not a threat. Ghezali has stated in his book that he feels he is being intensely monitored by the Swedish Security Service (SÄPO), both in his home and when he moves around. He claims that the surveillance has caused him to feel depressed.
  • 2002
    Age 22
    In December 2002 Pakistan withdrew all charges against Ghezali in connection with his arrest at the Afghan border.
    More Details Hide Details Pakistan suspected him of having participated in a prison uprising in Pakistan, where 17 people (including seven prison guards) were killed. When questioned about the prison uprising at the press conference following his release Ghezali denied having any knowledge of or participation in the prison uprising. During his stay at Guantanamo Bay, Ghezali was visited by representatives of the Swedish government (February 2002, January and July 2003 and January 2004) and was informed that he had been assigned an attorney in Sweden (Peter Althin) and that his case had been brought up in inter-governmental contacts and had been featured on several occasions in the Swedish media. Ghezali supposedly refused to discuss what he was doing in Afghanistan and Pakistan with the agents of the Swedish government. On 15 May 2006 the United States Department of Defense released a list of all the individuals who had been held in military custody in their Guantanamo Bay detainment camps. That list gave Ghezali's Guantanamo detainee ID as 166. The DoD listed his place of birth as Stockholm.
  • 2001
    Age 21
    He then travelled to Pakistan in the summer of 2001 in order to study at one of the madrasahs situated there.
    More Details Hide Details After failing to gain acceptance into any of the madrasahs he then travelled to Afghanistan, where he according to his own statements stayed with a family in Jalalabad. Ghezali stated that: "I lived a simple life, playing with the children and seeing how Afghans lived." "Sweden's security police chief, Jan Danielsson, described Ghezali more as a confused youth traveling the world looking for spiritual fulfillment rather than a terrorist. 'We have no information that indicates he's an al-Qaeda member, much less that he held a leading position,' Danielsson said in an interview." After the U.S. military together with the Afghan Northern Alliance initiated a bombing campaign on the Tora Bora mountains a large number of al-Qaeda sympathisers and others in the affected areas fled southward to Pakistan. Mehdi Ghezali was captured by local warlords in Pakistan in the Tora Bora mountains which are close to the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and then handed over to the U.S. Armed Forces which transported him to Guantanamo Bay Naval Base on Cuba where Ghezali was held at Guantanamo Bay detainment camp.
  • 2000
    Age 20
    Ghezali and his partner were released from prison on 12 June 2000 after having spent 10 months in a Portuguese prison without being charged, and returned to Sweden.
    More Details Hide Details Ghezali then traveled to Medina in Saudi Arabia to study at the university. However, he was not accepted and returned to Sweden in March or April 2001 for a brief period before travelling to London where he studied at the madrasah of the Muslim cleric Omar Bakri.
  • 1999
    Age 19
    Ghezali was apprehended by the Portuguese police in the Algarve region of Portugal on 31 July 1999 for a suspected bank robbery and a jewelry theft together with his partner Stavros Christos Toilos.
    More Details Hide Details The bank robbery in Albufeira netted 600,000 euros while the jewelry theft in Playe de la Galé netted 5,000 euros.
    He finished secondary studies in 1999 and trained as a welder.
    More Details Hide Details He was suspected of theft the same year, but left the country and could not be questioned by the Swedish police. When police officers visited Ghezali's father he stated that Ghezali had left for Algeria in order to complete his military service; however, Ghezali had traveled to Portugal, supposedly to pursue a career as a football player.
  • 1979
    Born on July 5, 1979.
    More Details Hide Details
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