Turkish terror suspect ‘a member of the PKK’

A Turkish citizen arrested at Stockholm's Arlanda Airport on Friday on terror charges is thought to be a member of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), Belgian prosecutors said on Monday.

The arrest of the man at the Stockholm airport was linked to a dragnet launched in March which targeted PKK activities in Belgium, said Leen Nuyts, a spokesperson for the Belgian federal prosecutor’s office.

The man, who is wanted by Belgian authorities, is “suspected of being a member of a terrorist organisation,” Nuyts told AFP. His identity has not been revealed.

Eight people were arrested in Belgium on March 4th and charged with participating in the activities of a terrorist group. Six were released conditionally on March 25 while two were kept in detention.

Around 300 Belgian police officers conducted 28 searches to dismantle a network that was recruiting young volunteers to join the PKK, listed as a terrorist group by the European Union and the United States.

Belgian authorities issued a European arrest warrant for the man who was arrested in the Swedish capital on Friday after he was not found in the March raids, Nuyt said.

The man was arrested on terrorism, kidnapping and hostage-taking charges, Swedish prosecutor Ronnie Jacobsson told the Aftonbladet daily on Saturday.

Belgium has made an extradition request, which is being review by Swedish authorities.

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Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

Prosecutors in Sweden are now treating the murder at the Almedalen political festival as a terror crime, with the country's Säpo security police taking over the investigation.

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

In a press release issued on Monday evening, the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that the 32-year-old attacker, Theodor Engström, was now suspected of the crime of “terrorism through murder”, and also “preparation for a terror crime through preparation for murder”. 

Engström stabbed the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren last Wednesday as she was on her way to moderate a seminar at the Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland. 

Although he was a former member of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, police said his motive seemed to be to protest against Sweden’s psychiatry services, who he felt had treated his own mental illness badly. 

The release gave no details as to why the 32-year-old was now being investigated for a more serious crime, but terror expert Magnus Ranstorp told the Expressen newspaper that the shift indicated that police had uncovered new evidence. 

READ ALSO: What do we now know about the Almedalen knife attack? 

“The new crime classification means that they’ve either found a political motive for the attack which meets the threshold for terrorism, and that might be a political motive for murdering Ing-Marie Wieselgren,” he said. “Or they might have discovered that he was scouting out a politician, or another target that could be considered political.” 

Engström’s defence lawyer said last week that his client, who he described as disturbed and incoherent, had spoken in police interrogations of having “a higher-up target”.