Spain denies arrest of Van Gogh suspect

20th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

20 December 2004 , AMSTERDAM — Spanish justice authorities have denied that one of four people arrested by anti-terrorist police last week is suspected of ordering the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

20 December 2004

AMSTERDAM — Spanish justice authorities have denied that one of four people arrested by anti-terrorist police last week is suspected of ordering the murder of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh.

A spokeswoman for the Spanish judiciary said there was no evidence that the suspect, identified as Hassan al-Haski., 41, gave the order to kill Van Gogh, Dutch news service nu.nl reported.

The denial comes after Spanish media reports claimed Dutch police had informed Spanish authorities of their suspicions about al-H. But the public prosecutor's office in the Netherlands denied the claims on Sunday.

Spanish police arrested four Moroccans on Friday for allegedly planning terrorist attacks on the island of Lanzarote. The suspects are suspected of trying to set up a base in the archipelago, off the coast of northwest Africa.

Al-Haski has been identified as the leader of the group. He had reportedly been in Amsterdam and was said, according to media reports, to have been in contact with Mohammed B., the suspected killer of Van Gogh. He was described in various media reports as the man who ordered the murder.

The Dutch intelligence service was said to be highly interested in al-Haski's arrest. The four men held by the Spanish police were also said to be under investigation for alleged links to the Hofstadgroep (Main City Group), which, in turn, is under investigation for possible involvement in Van Gogh's murder in Amsterdam last month. 

Al-Haski may be the brother of terror suspect El Haski, 29, of Maaseik in Belgium, who is being detained in Belgium, the newspaper Het Belang van Limburg reported. The main Spanish suspect's last name has also been spelled similarly to that of the Belgian suspect in some reports.

The four Moroccans arrested in the Canary Islands are accused of being members of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group, the GICM, which has been linked to the bloody attacks in Casablanca in 2003 and Madrid in March this year. Spanish authorities have confirmed that al-Haski is also accused of involvement in the Madrid attacks.

The others arrested on Lanzarote have been named as Abdallah Mourib, the imam of the village of Puerto del Carmen, Ali Fahimi, 31, and Brahim Atia El Hammouchi, 40, Expatica Spain reported.

The four — who are believed to have regularly visited the Netherlands and Belgium — were flown from Lanzarote to Spain on Saturday for questioning. All four are still being held in custody.

[Copyright Expatica News + Novum Nieuws 2004]

Subject: Dutch news

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