The father of a Swedish member of parliament was arrested in Baghdad at the weekend with Swedish foreign ministry officials as yet unable to determine why the man, who is also a politician in Iraq, was detained.
Following the arrest, Centre Party MP Abir al-Sahlani says she is concerned about what might happen to her father, Abid Faisal al-Sahlani, a Swedish citizen who is active in politics in Iraq.
“I’m afraid they will take him in a car in the middle of the night and that he’ll disappear,” she told the Expressen newspaper.
The elderly Al-Sahlani, who was imprisoned for a decade during the rule of Saddam Hussein, was arrested late Saturday night in front of his wife and two teenage children who were in Baghdad visiting the Iraqi politician.
Abir al-Sahlani told Expressen the arrest was ordered by Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki because of her father’s contacts with activists upset about a controversial decision to raise the pay and pension benefits of Iraqi MPs.
The Swedish foreign ministry confirmed the arrest.
“The embassy has had contact with Iraqi authorities about the matter. According to the information I have, it’s unclear on what grounds he was arrested,” Swedish foreign ministry spokeswoman Victoria Bell told Expressen.
Abir al-Sahlani, 37, entered the Riksdag in September 2011 to fill the parliamentary seat left vacant by outgoing environment minister Andres Carlgren.
A resident of the south Stockholm suburb of Hägersten, al-Sahlani was born in Iraq and launched her career in politics in Härnosand in northern Sweden as the youngest representative on the governing board of the local Centre Party chapter.