A former left-wing Social Democrat politician in the province of Småland has been arrested following media allegations that he had boasted about helping to smuggle migrants into Sweden.
The former politician, initially identified by newspaper Expressen as a former municipal politician and Syrian migrant Rashad Alasaad, was arrested by around a dozen officers on Wednesday and is suspected of aiding the smuggling of migrants, broadcaster SVT reports.
Ewa-Gun Westford, the spokesperson for police area South, commented on the case saying: “He has been taken to the police station for questioning. He has the right to a defender and that is now being administered.”
The Expressen investigation which preceded the arrest revealed that 27-year-old Alasaad charged as much as 3,000 euros per adult and 2,000 euros per child for passport documents that would help migrants enter Sweden.
Journalist Smuggles Migrant Into Sweden, Migrant Convicted of Knife Crime https://t.co/HzI9MkJB44
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) August 13, 2019
Alasaad is said to have used Facebook to advertise his service under the alias “Ahmad” and conducted all communication over Facebook’s messenger app.
Undercover reporters met the 27-year-old in Crete after refusing to meet in the capital of Athens, claiming that passport controls were too difficult at Athens’ airport.
After building trust, the reporters were able to get the phone number of “Ahmad” which was then found to be registered to Alasaad. During the meeting in Crete, which was secretly recorded, Alasaad claims to have smuggled his entire family from Syria and that he had been in Sweden for just five and a half years.
“Let me tell you why I do it. To be honest with you, the main reason is money. I want money,” Alasaad told the reporters.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) September 13, 2016
The case comes after Swedish journalist Fredrik Önnevall, an employee of public broadcaster SVT, was convicted of human trafficking in 2018 after he had helped a 15-year-old Syrian come to Sweden in 2014. The journalist was able to keep his job at the broadcaster despite the conviction.
The smuggled Syrian migrant was later sentenced in court for knife crimes in 2019 after he was found carrying a knife in central Uppsala and handed down a 2,000 Swedish Krona (£173/$209) fine.