The District Court of Varsinais-Suomi on Tuesday detained four of the five suspects linked to a knife attack that occurred in Turku, South-west Finland, on 18 August.
Abderrahman Mechkah, the 18-year-old man suspected of carrying out the attack, was detained for probable cause of two murders committed with terrorist intent and eight attempted murders committed with terrorist intent.
He appeared in the court via a video link from a hospital bed and admitted to having caused the deaths of two women in the attack but denied both the murder charges and the allegations that the offences were committed with terrorist intent, according to Helsingin Sanomat.
The National Bureau of Investigation (KRP) conceded yesterday that it has yet to verify the age and identity of the main suspect.
“His age and identity are things that we’re trying to look into. We have a name for him, but whether or not it's the correct one will be examined and looked into,” Olli Töyräs, the detective inspector in charge of the pre-trial investigation at KRP, was quoted as saying.
YLE reported that the man may have provided a fake name and age upon his presumed arrival in Finland in the first half of 2016.
Töyräs also revealed that the pre-trial investigation has yet to produce any evidence that would link the knife attack to the terror attack in Barcelona, Spain, on 17 August, 2017. The possibility, however, has yet to be ruled out by the investigators, he added according to Helsingin Sanomat.
It similarly remains unclear whether the man has any ties to terrorist organisations, such as the so-called Islamic State.
The District Court of Varsinais-Suomi on Tuesday also detained one of the four suspected accomplices in the attack for probable cause of involvement in the two murders and eight attempted murders committed with terrorist intent. Two of the potential accomplices were detained on suspicion of involvement in the murders and attempted murders.
All three of them rejected the allegations made against them in court.
The fourth suspected accomplice, in turn, was released after the court determined that the grounds for detaining him were not met. KRP announced after the remand hearings that the man is no longer suspected of any involvement in the offences.
KRP has yet to shed light on how the four other suspects are believed to have been involved in the attack.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Photo: Martti Kainulainen – Lehtikuva