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Monday, 30 September, 2002, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Sweden releases hijack suspect
Kerim Chatty
Chatty tried to board a plane with a gun in his bag
The Swedish authorities have released from custody a man held on suspicion of trying to hijack a plane bound for Britain.


Nothing in the investigation indicates that Chatty would have intended to crash the plane

Chief prosecutor Thomas Haggstrom
Kerim Sadok Chatty, 29, was arrested a month ago at a Swedish airport after a gun was found in his hand luggage.

But the authorities say suspicions that he was planning a hijack have weakened since then.

Despite his release, prosecutors say investigations into the incident will continue.

They have imposed a travel ban on Mr Chatty, and ordered him to report to police regularly.

Fears

Mr Chatty - a Swedish national of Tunisian origin - was trying to board a Ryanair flight to Stansted Airport, north of London.

His arrest raised fears of further suicide attacks, as it came almost two weeks before the first anniversary of 11 September attacks on the United States.

Swedish police by the evacuated Ryanair plane
The incident triggered a huge security operation

But Chief prosecutor Thomas Haeggstroem said in a statement on Monday that the hijacking case had weakened in recent days.

"Nothing in the investigation indicates that Chatty would have intended to crash the plane against any target in Sweden or in any other country," the statement added.

Mr Chatty has said he has no connection with Islamic militants.

Suspicions against him increased after it was revealed that in 1996 he had briefly received training at a flying school in the United States - like some of the 11 September hijackers.

Following his arrest a court twice ordered that Mr Chatty should be detained for periods of two weeks, pending further investigations.

The second detention period ended on Monday.

Mr Chatty has admitted to having the gun, but denies having planned a hijack.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Chris Morris
"He may be charged only with a weapons offence"
The BBC's Andrew North
"Karim Chatty has been taken to a secret location and he's refusing all interview requests"
Thomas Haggstrom, Sweden's chief prosecutor
"We haven't found any proof of him planning to hijack the plane"
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