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Friday, 21 January, 2000, 21:23 GMT
Arrest warrant for Isabel suspect

Isabel Peake Isabel Peake was pushed or fell from a French train

France has released an international arrest warrant for a man wanted in connection with the murder of British student Isabel Peake.

Sid Ahmed Rezala, whose family live in Marseilles, is currently in a jail in Lisbon, Portugal, awaiting extradition to face charges over the death of the 20-year-old Birmingham University student.

The warrant came a day after Mr Rezala, arrested last Tuesday, was questioned by French police about the Peake case.

The two investigating judges heading the inquiry into the death told reporters they now had "enough evidence" to mount a prosecution.

Rezala: Arrested in Lisbon
The battered body of Miss Peake was found next to the Toulouse-Paris railway line near Chateauroux, central France, on 13 October last year.

Mr Rezala is also wanted in connection with the sleeper train murder of mother-of-two Corrine Caillaux in Dijon, eastern France, and the death of student Emilie Bazin in Amiens, northern France.

On Friday it emerged that Mr Rezala had asked Marseilles-based lawyers Joel Bataille and Jean-Claude Richard to represent him.

They told the Limoges-based Echo du Centre newspaper they were not convinced of the proof of Mr Rezala's presence on the overnight train from Limoges to Paris, from which Miss Peake fell or was pushed.

They said the fact that he was thrown off an earlier service to Limoges did not prove he was on the train.

So far Mr Rezala has refused to co-operate with extradition efforts, a move that could delay the procedure by several weeks.

The attempt to extradite him has also been hit by a series of hitches, with the Portuguese authorities complaining of incomplete paperwork from France.

Earlier this week, it was reported that Mr Rezala had injured himself in the prison by slashing his neck and a wrist.

He was found wounded in his cell on Monday night and was taken to the hospital wing of the jail, but prison authorities said he was not badly hurt.

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See also:
18 Jan 00 |  Europe
Murder suspect wounds himself
15 Jan 00 |  UK
Police reconstruct Isabel train fall
12 Jan 00 |  Europe
French murder suspect fights extradition
25 Dec 99 |  UK
Murder link to Isabel killing

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