updated 7/8/2004 3:18:02 PM ET 2004-07-08T19:18:02

A Swedish man held for more than two years by the United States in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, returned home Thursday after he was released to the Swedish government by the Pentagon.

The Swedish Foreign Ministry said Medhi-Muhammed Ghezali landed at Skavsta Airport in the southern Swedish city of Nykoeping Thursday evening aboard a government-charter private jet.

It was unclear whether Ghezali would return to his father’s home in Orebro or be taken to the capital, Stockholm, to be questioned by Swedish officials.

Mehdi-Muhammed Ghezali was released to the Swedish government earlier Thursday after more than two years at the military prison at Guantanamo, where some 600 foreigners are being held on suspicion of being members of al-Qaida or the Taliban.

Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds told the Associated Press that Ghezali was not expected to be charged by police for any crime, but she could not say if he would be monitored by security police upon arrival.

“That is up to the security police,” she said. “I take it for granted that he’s free, and I have received no indication that any government department will do anything to try to arrest him.”

Ghezali — born in Sweden to a Finnish mother and Algerian father — was reportedly part of a group of 156 suspected al-Qaida fighters arrested in 2001 by Pakistani authorities while fleeing the Tora Bora mountains into Pakistan.

His father, Mehdi Ghezali, has staged a series of on-again, off-again hunger strikes to draw attention to his son’s plight.

On Thursday, he expressed shock about his son’s release, telling Swedish news agency TT: “I will believe it when I see him here.”

Sweden had repeatedly called on the United States to either charge Ghezali or release him from the U.S. naval base at the eastern tip of Cuba. Swedish Prime Minister Goeran Persson raised the issued during an April meeting with President Bush in Washington.

“Sweden participates actively in the fight against international terrorism,” Freivalds said. “But the fight must not be conducted with means that are outside what international law prescribes.”

Relatives and lawyers of several European detainees at Guantanamo have said they are encouraged by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month that let prisoners appeal their detention.

Since the detention mission started about 2½ years ago, only four detainees have been allowed to meet attorneys and only three have been charged. Several European detainees, including five Britons and a Dane, have been let go and several French inmates are expected to be sent home soon.

© 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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