CHIANGRAI TIMES – In an interview with the Bangkok based Swedish report Jan Kallman of the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, who visited him in prison, the 47 year old Hussein says he became a Swedish citizen in 1994. But in 2005, he and his family moved back to Lebanon where he has lived since.
He claims the chemical ingredients that was found in the house that could be used to make bombs was placed there by the Israeli secret service Mossad.
“Much of the material police found in my store had been placed there, probably by the Israeli secret service Mossad,” said Atris Hussein to Aftonbladet’s reporter Jan Kallman.
Jan Kallman met Hussein early on Thursday morning local time in Bangkok Remand Prison which lies with the huge prison complex Klong Prem in the northern outskirts of Bangkok.
Atris Hussein was wearing blue prison clothes, sat down behind the armored glass, took the phone and looked surprisingly fresh.
“I feel pretty good inspite of the situation. And I miss contact with my family in Lebanon. It is only now here in the prison that I have been able to read some papers and get to know more details of my arrest. I have been treated well by the Thai police. But this is a conspiracy. I deal only with ordinary business operations.”
Hussein was arrested last Thursday at Bangkok International Airport Suvarnabhumi Airport when he was going to fly back to Lebanon. He was placed in the Immigration Department custody, interrogated, and on Monday he showed police his warehouse, where – among other things – there turned out to be fertilizer and ammonia that can be used to manufacture explosives.
On Tuesday Hussein was placed in remand prison for another twelve days. This detention period can be extended six times with another 12 days before the public prosecutor must either bring charges against him or he will be released by the court.
Hussein explained in Swedish his own version of the events and a few so far unknown details.
“One evening I was taken out of prison, was placed in a car that drove off with me to a house somewhere. In there, I was interrogated by three men who apparently came from the Mossad. I have their first names. They claimed that I lied about various things,” says Atris Hussein.
Israel warned already on 18 December last year, both the U.S. and Thailand that Bangkok might be a target for terrorists. One possible reason was America’s deteriorating relations with Iran, writes Aftonbladet.
Israel then received information that the group Hezbollah in Lebanon was about to attack U.S. interests in Thailand seen as a close US ally.The speculation that Aftonbladet presents is, that the attacks would be a revenge for the murder of a nuclear scientist in Iran. Iran has accused the U.S. and Israel of being behind this.
Atris Hussein believes Mossad pointed him out because of his religious and political sympathies.
“I am a Shiite Muslim, but not part of the Hezbollah. However, I live in an area outside Beirut where they are strong. I also have sympathy on the left, I also voted for the Social Democrats when I lived in Sweden. Maybe it made me suspicious in Mossad’s eyes. They kept an eye on me.”
When did you come to Sweden?
“I moved there in 1989 and became a Swedish Citizen in 1994. I was married in Lebanon and my family then later also came to Sweden. I worked as a hairdresser for ten years in Gothenburg.”
“The whole family moved back to Lebanon in 2005. I have four children, two boys who are 15 and 12 years, two girls who are 17 and 7.”
You have dual citizenship?
“Yes, in Lebanon and Sweden. I got a new Swedish passport in 2005, which was then valid for ten years. I traveled to Sweden in 2010 to obtain a passport with fingerprints.
What did you do in Lebanon after the move from Sweden?
“I started my own business of selling miniature trees, like Japanese bonsai. I imported them from Pakistan. But it was not so good. I started looking for other business opportunities.”
It was in this way you ended up in Thailand?
“Yes, I had a partner in Lebanon who imported goods from Asia. But his Lebanese passport created a lot of trouble for him when going on purchasing trips. I had a Swedish passport and was able to travel freely without the hassle. Three years ago we started doing business in Thailand. I have rented a store here for two years now.”
What type of business do you do?
“We bought goods in Asia and exported them to other countries, including Lebanon. It was fans, photocopier paper and cool-packs used to relieves pain. These bags contained ammonia. It wasn’t more complicated than that. We have never dealt with chemical fertilizers. It must have been placed in our store room by someone, probably the Mossad.”
Why were you in Thailand at this time?
“Firstly, I had to check the warehouse after the floods in November and December, and secondly I should arrange a shipment to Liberia, that we had problems with. The cargo is now booked on a freighter. In addition, I was sick three days with a bad stomach.”
What happened last Thursday when you were arrested?
“I was just about to fly home. When I went through all the controls and got my bag, I was x-rayed. They took me to a detention center at the airport and interrogated me. I only had a bag with some clothes and gadgets like fake iPhones, some USB flash drives, hard drives and memory sticks with me. I usually sell them in Lebanon. And then I was accused of being a terrorist. But I am 100 percent innocent.”