BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Russian Polish Albanian Greek Czech Ukrainian Serbian Turkish Romanian
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: World: Europe  
News Front Page
World
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
-------------
From Our Own Correspondent
-------------
Letter From America
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Monday, 2 September, 2002, 14:11 GMT 15:11 UK
Sweden to charge suspect with hijack
Kerim Chatty
Chatty tried to board a plane with a gun in his bag
A Swedish court will be asked to authorise the detention of a man arrested with a gun in his luggage as he tried to board a flight to Britain.

Charges
Preparing to hijack a plane
Preparing to sabotage an aircraft
Preparing to sabotage an airport
Possession of an illegal weapon

Prosecutors are to submit formal hijacking and weapons charges against Kerim Sadok Chatty, 29, at a hearing later on Monday.

They will ask a district court to authorise his detention in solitary confinement on the grounds that he could try to flee the country, destroy evidence or continue criminal activity if released.

Mr Chatty's lawyer has said his client admits having a gun but is being unfairly suspected of terrorism because of his Muslim faith and the timing of his arrest.

Nils Uggla said his client could explain the gun's presence in his luggage and that he was "very much against violence".

Ryanair passenger
Fellow passengers were questioned, then released
Mr Chatty - who converted to Islam a few years ago - was arrested at the small airport of Vasteras near Stockholm on Thursday as he tried to board a flight to London's Stansted Airport.

Before the court hearing, Swedish police said they now had enough evidence to accuse the detainee of attempted hijacking - a crime which carries a maximum life sentence.

Spokesman Ulf Palm said: "This is a very, very serious crime and very unusual in Sweden.

"Offhand, I can't think of a similar incident in Sweden."

Mr Palm said no other suspects were being sought.

Terrorist checks

Prosecutors have been investigating if Mr Chatty has any links to terrorist organisations or if the alleged hijack plan had been timed for the approach of the anniversary of the 11 September attacks on the US.

Mr Chatty is known to have had flying lessons in the US. Several of the hijackers suspected of carrying out the terror attacks learned to fly at US aviation schools.

North American Institute of Aviation in Conway, South Carolina
Chatty attended the North American Institute of Aviation in Conway
Intelligence sources have suggested he wanted to crash the plane into a US embassy in Europe, but that has been denied by Sweden's top security official.

The motive for Mr Chatty - a Swedish citizen born to a Tunisian father and Swedish mother - remains unclear.

He said he was travelling to Britain for a conference of followers of the Salafi school of Islam - whose goal of returning to ancient beliefs is also said to be supported by Osama Bin Laden.

But conference organisers, who have denounced violence, said they had no knowledge of Mr Chatty, who has previous convictions in Sweden for theft and assault.

'Islamaphobia'

Mr Chatty's lawyer said a series of coincidences had muddied the facts.

"He is Muslim, he is flying and he has a gun and it's close to 11 September," Mr Uggla said.


He is Muslim, he is flying and he has a gun and it's close to 11 September - that makes people draw quick conclusions

Lawyer Nils Uggla
"That makes people draw quick conclusions."

A radical British Muslim cleric, Sheikh Abu Hamza al-Masri, said "Islamaphobia" had informed much of the media coverage about Mr Chatty.

The cleric, who runs Finsbury Park Mosque in north London, told the BBC that everyone was "innocent until proven guilty".

The suspect's best friend told the BBC that Mr Chatty had simply forgotten the gun in his bag in his rush to catch the plane.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Stephen Sackur
"The suspect denies the hijacking charge"
Benjamin Creel, North American Inst. of Aviation
"He began our professional pilots course"
Muslim cleric Sheikh Abu Hamza
"Everybody is innocent until proved guilty"
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes