Poland frees French 'terror suspect'

7th September 2004, Comments 0 comments

POZNAN, Poland, Sept 7 (AFP) - A French photographer held in Poland for 25 days as a terrorist suspect was unconditionally released for lack of evidence on Tuesday, although a prosecutor insisted the case remained open.

POZNAN, Poland, Sept 7 (AFP) - A French photographer held in Poland for 25 days as a terrorist suspect was unconditionally released for lack of evidence on Tuesday, although a prosecutor insisted the case remained open.  

Mickael Neyrolles, 23, was arrested on August 13 while taking pictures of a gas pumping station and was subsequently charged with "preparing acts liable to endanger human lives and destroy property."  

He told AFP by telephone that his release had come as a complete surprise.  

"I don't know yet what I'm going to do. I am still stunned. This morning, I did not know I was going to be freed," he said.  

"For the time being I have no plans apart from eating -- a meal of rice with tomatoes and peppers," said the Frenchman, who headed straight to the home of a Polish friend near the western town of Poznan following his release.  

Neyrolles was released from a prison in Poznan after a court ruled that "the evidence assembled was insufficient to back up an indictment," said judge Slawomir Jeksa, according to Polish news agency PAP.  

But a prosecutor in the case, Slawomir Ziolkowski, said that the fact that Neyrolles had been released did not mean he had been cleared of all suspicion. "The investigation continues," he said, without providing further detail.  

The arrest and incarceration of Neyrolles has unfolded in a context of heightened tension and surveillance against terrorism because of Poland's prominent role in the multinational force occupying Iraq.   

The Polish government "takes very seriously all signs of terrorist danger," Prime Minister Marek Belka said on Polish television station TVN when asked about the case.  

"Sometimes our special services can commit mistakes, but we prefer to blow hot and cold rather than let a dangerous situation escape our notice," he added, without specifically conceding that the arrest had been in error.  

Polish experts confirmed finding traces of two types of explosives on Neyrolles' clothes, hexogen and TATP (triacetone triperoxide).  

"As it is impossible to determine when Mr Neyrolles came into contact with the explosives or their source, the court has recognized that these elements could not provide conclusive proof in this case," the lawyer said.  

"The experts do not rule out a chance contact" with the explosive substances, she added.  

The mayor of the photographer's hometown in southeastern France had said he was in Poland to take pictures of industrial sites for an exhibition linked to a jazz festival, insisting the arrest was "a huge misunderstanding".

© AFP

 

Subject: French News

0 Comments To This Article