The statement follows a report by Swedish National Radio, according to which a former imam at one of Sweden’s major mosques, has been smuggling large amounts of weapons to Syrian rebels, via Romania and Bosnia.
The Foreign Ministry (MAE) denied on Friday the report, saying that the Romanian diplomacy didn’t authorise any arms transfer to Syrian nationals or NGOs. According to a communiqué sent to Agerpres, MAE states that it took note of the allegations pertaining to a possible transport of arms from Romania to Syria and expressed the availability of the Romanian .authorities to work with Sweden for checking the accuracy of the information released by the Swedish public radio station.
“MAE through the Department of Exports Control, the body in charge with the control of arms trade, did not authorise transfers to Syria nor to physical persons or organisations representing the civil society. The national agency for the control of the exports approves such transfers only with an end utilisation guarantee, confirmed by the authorities from the destination countries”, reads the release.
Last Thursday, Radio Sweeden revealed that a Swedish national, a former imam at one of Sweden’s major mosques has been smuggling large amounts of weapons to Syria for the past 18 months. The Swede is, according to Swedish Radio sources, one of the most important people when it comes to supplying the rebels with arms.
Raphaël Lefèvre from the University of Cambridge interviewed the Swede about the arms trade. “He was very open about his deals in terms of trying to bring weapons within Syria and especially in the area around Homs,” he told Swedish Radio. Raphaël Lefèvre has also written about the Swede and his organisation’s arms transports in a Carnegie report. Léfèvre told Swedish Radio’s reporters that the Swede had told him himself that he had sent weapons to Syria, via his organisation, so that people could protect themselves against the attacks by the Syrian regime.
The organisation has itself put hundreds of clips featuring rebel fighters up on its YouTube channel. He makes sure that the weapons are bought and collected in Libya for the most part, but also in European countries like Bosnia and Romania. They are then transported by boat or plane to Turkey, and then trucked over the border to Syria where they are passed on to the rebels.
According to Thomas Tjäder, political advisor at the ISP, the Swedish Agency for Non-Proliferation and Export Controls, smuggling the weapons to Syria is a crime in Sweden, and could mean a prison sentence of four years.
Swedish Radio News’ reporters have tried to contact the the former imam many times, and in all kinds of ways, but have not yet managed to get hold of him. But they did manage to meet with the leader of his organisation. His name is Nazir Hakim. He confirms that the Swede travels the world raising money for the organisation, and that the money goes towards buying weapons. But he claims the weapons are bought from the people in the regime in Syria, not from the Balkans, Iraq or Libya.