Alexa

Swedish Kurds demand removal from Interpol list

Swedish Kurds demand removal from Interpol list

A group of Swedish citizens accused by Iran of terrorism and other crimes demanded Wednesday that their names be removed from Interpol's wanted list, and slammed the international police agency for honoring politically motivated requests.
The 10 men on the list are Kurds who were recognized by Sweden as political refugees some 20 years ago.
They are active critics of the Iranian regime, and their names were put on the Interpol wanted list at Iran's request. Six are accused by Iran of terrorism, and four of organized crime.
One of the accused Swedes, Rasoul Banavand, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he and the nine others were shocked two weeks ago to discover their names and photographs on Interpol's Web site.
"I have been active against the regime for 30 years," he said. "It is nothing new that the Iranian regime judges me and calls me and the other opponents terrorists. But what is unexpected is that this comes from Interpol, an international organization."
Arezo Julie Jacobsson, a spokeswoman for the men, said they are studying the possibility of taking legal action against Interpol for violating international asylum policies.
Interpol spokespeople made no immediate comment and declined to say whether there have been similar cases involving Iranian political opposition figures in the past.
The Lyon, France-based agency normally has a committee review countries' requests before adding the names of suspects to the list.
Inclusion on the Interpol wanted list is not the same as an international arrest warrant. It is, however, a formal notification to other countries that the person is wanted at home.
Swedish law enforcement officials have not yet acted on the Interpol notice.
Swedish prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand said Sweden cannot extradite the men since they are Swedish citizens, but could theoretically charge them in Sweden if Iran presented sufficient evidence.
Lindstrand said the men risked extradition to Iran if they traveled abroad.
Banavand and the other Swedes are affiliates of the Worker-Communist Party of Iran Hekmatist _ an Iranian political party in exile opposed to the country's current Islamic regime. Two other members of the organization _ one who lives in Britain, and one in Germany _ have also been included on the Interpol list.
Banavand, who came to Sweden 17 years ago and now lives in Stockholm, said he was politically active in a Kurdish region in northern Iran after the 1979 revolution when regional heads clashed with Ayatollah Khomeini's regime. He denied any links to terror-listed organizations.
He said the Interpol listing has been a horrible experience for him and his family.
"I'm afraid of traveling outside the Swedish borders," he said. "Even though I know that a journey to England or Denmark maybe won't be that dangerous, I still don't feel safe."
Interpol has previously been accused of being used for political ends and getting involved in touchy diplomacy issues. In 2007, Iran said the agency was becoming a tool of Israel and the United States after it had placed five Iranians and a Lebanese terror suspect on its most-wanted list for a 1994 bombing in Argentina.
___
On the Net
http://bit.ly/6QJ3WV
___
Associated Press Writer Angela Charlton in Paris also contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-01-20 08:09 GMT+08:00