HELSINKI – A Finnish court ordered a Moroccan asylum-seeker suspected of a knife attack that killed two and wounded eight people to remain in custody on preliminary charges.
The regional court in Turku said the 18-year-old male suspect will be held on suspicion of terrorist crimes, including two counts of murder and eight counts of attempted murder.
Three alleged accomplices also were ordered to be held on suspicion they helped plan the attack.
The main suspect, who was identified as Abderrahman Mechkah, has acknowledged Friday’s stabbings, but denied the murder charges. The others — all Moroccan — have denied any involvement.
The court said they were suspected of “participating in the murders and attempted murders, committed with terrorist intent.”
Mechkah arrived in Finland last year, but his application for asylum was denied, local media reports said.
“bloody events in Turku are a sign that terrorism has come to Finland,” Finnish Foreign Minister Timo Soini said. “I feel unspeakable sorrow.”
Investigators and the suspect’s lawyer, Kaarle Gummerus, said they were not aware of a motive for the killings.
“The remand hearing did not make clear that the prerequisites had been met for a charge of a terrorist crime,” Gummerus told the Finnish news agency STT.
Finnish police investigators are exploring possible links to last week’s extremist attacks in Spain, where most of the perpetrators and suspects are reported to be Moroccans.