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Four suspects remanded in custody over Turku knife attack, one man freed

Southwest Finland District court has remanded into pre-trial custody four men -- including the main suspect -- in connection with Friday's knife rampage in Turku. The suspects all face charges of murder and attempted murder and were remanded on the grounds of "probable cause" and "reason to suspect". Police freed one man on Tuesday, and is no longer a suspect in the case.

Turun puukottajaa kuulustellaan videoyhteyden välityksellä vangitsemisoikeudenkäynnissä.
The main suspect in Friday's knife attack in Turku spoke to the court during a remand hearing from his hospital bed via a video link and interpreters. Image: Eino Kossila / Yle

The main suspect in Friday's knife attack in Turku has been remanded in pre-trial custody, on suspicion of two counts of murder and eight counts of attempted murder. 

The suspect, 18-year-old Abderrahman Mechkah, spoke to the court from his hospital bed via a video link and interpreters. Olli Töyräs, the officer leading the investigation, said that the suspect admitted the stabbings but denied that they constituted murder.

Mechkah was shot in the hip and arrested on Friday after fleeing the scene of the stabbings, in which two people were killed and eight were injured.

Three of Mechkah's associates were also remanded into custody on Tuesday on suspicion of the same two counts of murder with terrorist intent and eight counts of attempted murder with terrorist intent.

The main suspect and one other man were placed into pre-trial detention on the grounds of "probable cause", while two others were remanded on the grounds of "reason to suspect" according to the National Bureau of Investigation, NBI.

One of the suspects has a criminal record, with a conviction for coercion into sexual acts last year.

A tweet on the NBI's official Twitter account indicated that the day's proceedings wrapped up shortly after 4.00pm on Tuesday.

One suspect freed, no longer under suspicion

Meanwhile, one of the men detained in connection with the knife attacks was released on Tuesday. The man was due to face a remand hearing at the Southwest Finland District Court, but the lead investigator decided to release him and the hearing was cancelled.

The National Bureau of Investigation tweeted Tuesday afternoon that although the man is still under suspicion, there was no reason for him to be remanded into custody.

In a summary of the day's proceedings issued shortly after 4.30pm on Tuesday however, a police statement said that the "Head of Investigation decided in the afternoon that there is no reason to suspect this man of any offence anymore."

Edit: This story was updated at 3.30pm on 22 August to include information about one suspect who was freed from detention, and whose remand hearing was cancelled.

Edit: This story was updated at 4.30pm to include new information about the outcome of remand hearings for three other suspects in the case, as well as the reasons for their detention.

Edit: Updated to reflect comments by the Head of Investigation clearing the freed man of suspicion.

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