Supects released in Sarkozy bullet threats probe

6th September 2009, Comments 0 comments

French police have released without charge 11 people arrested last week over death threats sent to President Nicolas Sarkozy in letters stuffed with bullets, sources close to the probe said Sunday.

Paris - French police have released without charge 11 people arrested last week over death threats sent to President Nicolas Sarkozy in letters stuffed with bullets, sources close to the probe said Sunday.

A tobacconist and veteran of the French Foreign Legion from the southern Montpellier region was allowed to walk free late Saturday, two days after his arrest along with that of 10 others.

Threatening letters signed by an unknown group -- "The Combatants of Cell 34" -- have been sent to Sarkozy and eight of his ministers and political allies since late 2008.

In the latest, an envelope containing a large calibre hunting bullet and addressed to Sarkozy was discovered last month in a Montpellier mail sorting station.

French anti-terrorism police questioned the shop owner, who is also the editor of a far-left publication, and the 10 others including a dentist and architect said to be involved in far-left groups, a source said.

Investigators believe the letters demanding a halt to France's expulsion of illegal immigrants and the release from jail of a leader of the armed leftist group Action Directe, came from left-wing extremists.

A computer programmer and military reservist from Montpellier was arrested in March in connection with the case but released after someone claiming to be the letter writer sent his lawyer details of the bullets used.

AFP/Expatica

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