A Finnish national with suspected links to convicted terrorist Abderrahman Bouanane contacted police in Finland last spring, the Lännen Media newspaper group reports on Thursday.
The 24-year-old man’s whereabouts are unknown. The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) suspects that the Uzbek-born man may have influenced the Moroccan assailant ahead of his stabbing attack.
Bouanane, 23, was convicted in June of killing two people and wounding eight others in central Turku just over a year ago. He became the first defendant ever to be convicted a crime with terrorist intent by a Finnish court, a designation that he is now seeking to have overturned by an appeals court.
The Uzbek-Finnish man’s international arrest warrant is still in force. The NBI declined to say how he contacted police earlier this year.
Detective Chief Inspector Susanna Arppe of the NBI says that authorities gained the impression that the man wanted to return to Finland to settle the issue.
"We’ll definitely get hold of him"
Police want to find out how and to what extent the man influenced Bouanane’s decision to launch the attack.
The man, a naturalised Finnish citizen, went to Dubai three weeks before the August 2017 stabbings and has not returned to Finland since.
Under Finnish law, there is no statute of limitations on terrorist crimes, so the NBI could extend the arrest warrant indefinitely. The bureau has not yet actively tried to bring the suspect back to the country. Arppe says this is due to shaky evidence and the degree of his suspected involvement.
"However he will certainly at some point come to Finland or to Europe. We’ll definitely get hold of him," Arppe says.