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Families of Imprisoned Swedes Leave, Clemency Plea Unanswered

February 24, 1993

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) _ The families of three Swedes serving long prison terms for entering Iraq illegally left Baghdad today after their plea for clemency went unanswered.

But government officials told the relatives to return in a month for a final decision on their appeal to President Saddam Hussein, said well-informed sources who spoke on condition they not be identified further.

The Swedes - Christer Stromgren, Stefan Wihlborg and Leif Westerberg - were arrested after straying into Iraq across the poorly marked border last September.

The men, who worked for the Ericsson telecommunications company in Kuwait, have been sentenced to seven years in prison each.

During their week-long stay in Iraq, their families were allowed to visit them three times at Iraq’s main Abu Ghraib prison.

Wihlborg’s mother, Kajsa Wihlborg, Stromgren’s wife, Maija-liisa Stromgren, Westerberg’s wife, Maria, and the couple’s daughter left by road for Amman in two cars today.

The 620-mile desert highway is Iraq’s only link with the outside world because international sanctions keep its main travel facilities closed.

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