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"Tantamount to Inviting the Late Osama bin Laden to Celebrate His Freedom of Expression."

Paris, 6 May 2011

In a letter to the Swedish Justice Minister, Beatrice Ask, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, and its Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper, protested "the hosting in Stockholm of notorious Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine airplane hijacker, Leila Khaled, for a 30 April - 4 May lecture tour."

The protest noted that "sources assert that the terrorist's visit may have been at the cost of Swedish taxpayer", adding that "this disturbing report comes at a time when the Government rejects calls to fund security for threatened Jewish institutions. Indeed, Khaled's welcome in Sweden provokes further antisemitic incitement." 

Samuels and Cooper stressed that "permitting her on Swedish soil - apparently as an honoured guest - seems to jibe with the counter-terrorism policy announced following last winter's Stockholm bombing." 

The Centre urged the Minister to: 
- launch an immediate investigation into the circumstances behind Khaled's entry and departure from Swedish territory 
- promptly make public those findings 
- condemn this threat to Swedish sovereignty and take legal measures against those responsable 
- issue an arrest warrant for Leila Khaled for breach of public order.

"It is unconscionable that a known terrorist be hosted, while the European Commission is debating the reimposition of border controls within the Shengen region to prevent their entry", the letter claimed. 

"It is tantamount to a putative invitation to the late Osama bin Laden to celebrate his right to freedom of expression", concluded the Centre's senior officials.