Mystery grows over whereabouts of Pakistan Swedes

The Swedish embassy in Islamabad has denied that 19-year-old Safia Benaouda and her two-year-old son have been released by the Pakistani authorities, as reports continue to circulate indicating their imminent return to Sweden.

Several reports in the Swedish media, including The Local, on Friday stated that Benaouda, daughter of the head of the Muslim Council of Sweden, had been released after four weeks in an Islamabad prison.

But neither the Swedish embassy in Islamabad nor the foreign ministry in Stockholm have been able to gain confirmation from the Pakistani authorities that the release had taken place.

“I know that rumours have been circulating, yes, but they are not true,” Jörgen Persson at the Swedish embassy in Islamabad told the Dagens Nyheter (DN) newspaper when asked if Benaouda and her son were in the care of the embassy.

But the source of the reports, Naveed Siddique, a Pakistani journalist working for GEO News, continued to state on Saturday that his sources within the Pakistan interior ministry confirm that the release had taken place and that the Swedish woman and her child had been handed over to the embassy.

“I have received confirmation that the woman and child have been handed over,” Siddique told DN adding that the embassy may be withholding information until they have been successful repatriated to Sweden.

The foreign ministry in Stockholm also denied reports that a further Swede, a 28-year-old man, had been arrested in connection with the terror probe.

“This is something that we have also heard and which we are in the process of investigating, but we have not had any confirmation of it,” Karin Nylund at the foreign ministry said to news agency TT on Saturday afternoon.

Benaouda was in a group of 12 foreigners including Mehdi Ghezali – the Swede who spent two years in the US detention camp in Guantanamo Bay before being released in 2004 – and her partner Munir Awad, detained at Dera Ghazi Khan, on the border between Pakistan’s central Punjab and North West Frontier Province on August 28th.

The Pakistani police have held them in detention while investigating possible links to Al-Qaeda.

The group claim to have to been Muslim preachers going to teach in South Waziristan, which is known as a centre of Taliban and Al-Qaeda militant activity.

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Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim’s x-ray

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a surgeon for trying to sell an X-Ray image of a wounded arm of a woman who survived the 2015 terror attacks in the French capital.

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim's x-ray

Found guilty of violating medical secrecy, renowned orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean must pay the victim €5,000 or face two months in jail, judges ordered.

Masmejean, who works at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in western Paris, posted the image of a young woman’s forearm penetrated by a Kalashnikov bullet on marketplace Opensea in late 2021.

The site allows its roughly 20 million users to trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – certificates of ownership of an artwork that are stored on a “blockchain” similar to the technology used to secure cryptocurrencies.

In the file’s description, the surgeon wrote that the young woman he had operated on had “lost her boyfriend in the attack” on the Bataclan concert hall, the focus of the November 2015 gun and bomb assault in which jihadists killed 130 people.

The X-Ray image never sold for the asking price of $2,776, and was removed from Opensea after being revealed by investigative website Mediapart in January.

Masmejean claimed at a September court hearing that he had been carrying out an “experiment” by putting a “striking and historic medical image” online – while acknowledging that it had been “idiocy, a mistake, a blunder”.

The court did not find him guilty of two further charges of abuse of personal data and illegally revealing harmful personal information.

Nor was he barred from practicing as prosecutors had urged, with the lead judge saying it would be “disproportionate and inappropriate” to inflict such a “social death” on the doctor.

The victim’s lawyer Elodie Abraham complained of a “politically correct” judgement.

“It doesn’t bother anyone that there’s been such a flagrant breach of medical secrecy. It’s not a good message for doctors,” Abraham said.

Neither Masmejean, who has been suspended from his hospital job, nor the victim were present for Wednesday’s ruling.

The surgeon may yet face professional consequences after appearing before the French medical association in September, his lawyer Ivan Terel said.