Man arrested over Sarkozy death threat

5th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

A man suspected of sending threatening letters with bullets to French President Nicolas Sarkozy and fellow politicians has been arrested, say officials.

PARIS – French police on Wednesday arrested a man suspected of sending death threats to President Nicolas Sarkozy and several politicians in letters stuffed with bullets, officials said.

A 47-year-old computer expert and military reservist was picked up at his home in the southern city of Montpellier, a police official said. The man's former girlfriend had tipped off police on his whereabouts.

"We do not have confirmation that he is the one," said a source close to the investigation. "We are following this lead as well as others."

Threatening letters with pistol bullets were sent this month to Sarkozy, Interior Minister Michele Alliot-Marie, Justice Minister Rachida Dati and Culture Minister Christine Albanel.

Identical copies of the 20-line typed letter were sent to former prime minister Alain Juppe and several members of Sarkozy's UMP party, including local elected officials.

Another letter was sent to Nonce Paolini, the head of TF1, France's number one television station, at his offices outside Paris, and the state broadcaster France Televisions also said it had received a copy.

An official at the Paris prosecutor's office earlier told AFP that the letters were all posted from the Montpellier region.

He said investigators suspected they were dealing with an "unhinged" individual, as opposed to someone with a political agenda.

"It's obviously someone who is a bit unstable," Alliot-Marie told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

The man was being held by police in Montpellier and was to be questioned by French anti-terrorism police who are leading the investigation.

One of the letters, seen by AFP, was riddled with spelling mistakes and contained mostly incoherent and offensive language directed at Sarkozy, his ministers and other right-wing or centrist politicians.

The bullets contained in them were either .38 calibre or nine millimetre.

Letters were being examined for possible DNA evidence, while police were scouring surveillance camera footage of the areas where they were posted, the judicial official said.

AFP / Expatica

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