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Swede With Gun to Remain in Custody

Court: Prosecutors are still preparing charges against man suspected of plotting a hijacking.

September 17, 2002|From Associated Press

VAESTERAAS, Sweden — A court ruled Monday that a man suspected of planning to hijack a London-bound airliner should remain in custody to give prosecutors more time to prepare charges.

Chief prosecutor Thomas Haeggstroem said investigators had not yet determined why Kerim Chatty had a gun as he boarded a flight to London in August.

Haeggstroem, who had been ordered by the court to file formal charges by Monday, indicated that it might take a month before he is ready.

Prosecutors said they needed more time because of a large number of witnesses they must hear and other factors.

The district court in Vaesteraas, 60 miles northwest of the capital, Stockholm, ordered Chatty to remain jailed until Sept. 30 on preliminary charges of planning to hijack a plane and illegally possessing a weapon.

Chatty, 29, whose father is Tunisian and mother is Swedish, has pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a weapon but denies intending to hijack the plane, said his lawyer, Nils Uggla. Uggla said the weapons charge alone was not enough to keep him in jail.

But Haeggstroem said the suspect posed a risk of escaping, destroying evidence or complicating the investigation.

Chatty was arrested Aug. 29 at Vaesteraas airport after security officials found a gun in his carry-on luggage. He was preparing to board a Ryanair flight on his way to an Islamic conference in Birmingham, England.

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