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Swedes' dilemma over bomb suspect



and agencies

Swedish police will decide today whether to charge the man arrested in connection with terrorist attacks in Paris with murder, setting the stage for him to be extradited to France.

Swedish security police yesterday confirmed they had detained a man in connection with two bombings in Paris, which killed seven people and wounded more than 100, the TT news agency said.

In Stockholm a police spokesman said that under Swedish law, chief prosecutor Jan Danielsson must decide today whether to go ahead with a prosecution. "Either he must find there is substance enough for a court hearing ... or he must be released," the spokesman said. Under Swedish law, a person suspected of a major offence can be extradited only after a court hearing and a formal arrest in Sweden.

Abdelkrim Deneche, a 40-year Algerian also known as Abdessabour, was still in custody last night after two days of questioning in connection with the Saint-Michel metro station bombing in Paris on 25 July. A top- level delegation of French police and judiciary officials, headed by Jean- Francois Ricard, the judge leading the investigation, had remained in Stockholm overnight, hoping to be allowed to interview him.

Meanwhile, more details emerged about Mr Deneche and the background to his arrest. According to a report in Le Monde yesterday, he moved to Stockholm in 1991 under Sweden's relatively generous provision for political refugees, after spending time in Pakistan, Afghanistan and pre-election Algeria.

He is said to have kept a low profile, but to have been a driving force, if not the founder, of a clandestine newsletter, Al Ansar (the partisans).

This is distributed at mosques throughout Europe and North Africa and is believed to be linked with the Armed Islamic Group (GIA), the most extreme of Algeria's fundamentalist organisations. It was here that one of the first claims of GIA responsibility for the Saint-Michel bomb appeared.

Although domiciled in Sweden, where he has a Swedish-born wife and two children, Mr Deneche is said to have left for France in 1993, where he frequented the colourful quarter of Barbes, on the edge of Montmartre. He reportedly lived in and around Rue Myrha, a street of mosques, Islamic bookshops, cheap hotels and teahouses - and the same street where Imam Sahraoui was murdered on 11 July.

After the Saint-Michel bombing, Mr Deneche was reportedly identified as a suspect by an off-duty gendarme from Brittany who was travelling in the seat opposite him in the train where the bomb was planted. The gendarme, who also identified another two suspects, is said to have selected Mr Deneche's photograph from a file shown to him by police and described him as appearing "agitated".