Australia terror suspect's wife detained

22nd January 2004, Comments 0 comments

SYDNEY, Jan 22 (AFP) - Australian authorities have no evidence against a Sydney-born woman who was held for questioning in France after flying in to visit her terrorist suspect husband in prison, the attorney general said Thursday.

SYDNEY, Jan 22 (AFP) - Australian authorities have no evidence against a Sydney-born woman who was held for questioning in France after flying in to visit her terrorist suspect husband in prison, the attorney general said Thursday.

French judicial officials said Wednesday that Melanie Brown, the Australian wife of French citizen Willie Brigitte, was being held at the request of anti-terrorist magistrate Jean-Francois Ricard.

Brigitte's lawyer Jean-Claude Durimel said Brown was being "interviewed in her capacity as a witness", but Attorney General Philip Ruddock said he was unsure what type of information French authorities hoped to gather.

"Obviously they wouldn't take this step unless they believed she may information that could be relevant to their inquiries," he told commercial television.

"But we had no information, and the French authorities were aware of that, that suggested that Ms Brown was involved in her husband's security-related activities here."

Brown, 27, arrived in Paris Saturday planning to visit her husband, who was deported from Australia in October after French authorities tipped off their counterparts in Canberra that he may have been in the country as part of a terrorist conspiracy.

Brigitte, 35, spent five months in Sydney before his deportation and French authorities have placed him under judicial investigation for terrorism-related offences.

Both Brigitte and Brown are converts to Islam. They met in Australia in the middle of last year and were married in September, a few weeks before Brigitte's expulsion.

Ruddock said Brown had been advised to seek independent legal advice before she travelled to France.

Brown's Australian lawyer Stephen Hopper said her detention was routine and he believed she would be released soon.

"Melanie Brown obviously has done no wrong," he said. "She's being questioned in relation to what information she'll take in to Mr Brigitte," he told ABC radio.

Brigitte's lawyers have denied he has any involvement in terrorism. He is being held at a prison just outside Paris.

© AFP

                                Subject: France news

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