Pakistani police said, on Monday 09/14/2009, that a recently detained terror suspect Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali, is the same Swedish national once held by theUSA at Guantanamo Bay and that he was trying to connect with Al Qaeda operatives.
Dera Ghazi Khan police chief Mohammad Rizwan told The Associated Press that authorities made the determination after interrogating Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali. "I do confirm that he is the same person. He is a very dangerous man," Rizwan said.
Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali was arrested on the outskirts of Dera Ghazi Khan, a southern Pakistani town, on 08/28/2009 along with a group of foreigners including seven Turks and three other Swedes who lacked the proper immigration stamp.
A Swedish man with the same name was arrested in Pakistan in 2001 and held for two years at the USA prison in Cuba. He was released on 07/08/2004 after he denied any ties to Al Qaeda.
A police report obtained by the AP says the detained group planned to travel to North Waziristan, one of Pakistan's lawless FATA region, along the Afghan border, to join Al Qaeda there.
Sweden confirmed, on Saturday 09/12/2009, that three of its citizens were arrested in 08/2009, by Pakistani police but that at the time police had not provided their identities to Swedish authorities.
Though many of those held at Guantanamo Bay have been released and left the public eye, some are known to have joined or rejoined militant movements despite attempts in some countries to rehabilitate them.
Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali was born in Stockholm in 1979. He is the son of anAlgerian immigrant and a Finnish woman. He finished secondary studies in 1999 and trained as a welder. Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali then he traveled toPortugal, supposedly to pursue a career as a Football player. Ghezali was apprehended by the Portuguese Police in Algarve, on 07/31/1999, for a suspected bank robbery and a jewelry theft.
Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali and his partner were sentenced to three and a half years imprisonment, but were released early. Ghezali was released from prison on 06/12/2000, after having spent 10 months in a Portuguese prison, and returned to Sweden (his father claimed that Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali went toAlgeria to serve in the Algerian Army).
Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali then traveled to Medina, Saudi Arabia, to study at the university. However, he was not accepted and returned to Sweden in 04/2001 for a brief period before travelling to London where he studied at the Madrasa of the Muslim cleric Omar Bakri Muhammad. He then travelled toPakistan in the summer of 2001 in order to study at one of the Madrasas situated there. After failing to gain acceptance into any of the Madrasas he then travelled to Afghanistan, where he according to his own statements stayed with a family in Jalalabad.
According to media reports Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali stayed at the “Algerian House”, supposedly a known hideout for Al Qaeda and was used also earlier byAhmed Ressam.
After his release, on 07/08/2004, Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali criticized the Swedish government for not helping him sufficiently.