Finnish court places main stabbing suspect in custody

A tv set in Southwest Finland District Court in Turku, Finland on August 22, 2017 shows main suspect in the Finnish stabbing attack, Abderrahman Mechkah lying in a hospital bed next to his lawyer Kaarle Gummerus.<br />The 18 year-old Moroccan man is suspected of killing two people and attempting to kill eight others in Turku, on August 19, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Lehtikuva / Martti Kainulainen / Finland OUT

A Finnish district court on Tuesday placed in custody the main suspect in last week’s stabbing spree that left two dead, which is being investigated as the country’s first terror attack.

“The offender in Turku incident is suspected on probable cause of murders and attempted murders with terrorist intent and placed in detention,” the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said in a Twitter post.

The suspect has been identified as 18-year-old Moroccan citizen Abderrahman Mechkah, an asylum seeker who arrived in Finland in early 2016.

Police have said he targeted women in the Friday afternoon attack at a market square in the southwestern port city of Turku. Two women were killed and six women and two men were injured.

Mechkah, who was shot in the thigh by police minutes after the attack, appeared before the Turku court on Tuesday via video link from hospital.

Most of the hearing was held behind closed doors, but press photos taken at the beginning showed the suspect lying in his hospital bed, his head propped up on a pillow and his face shielded by a white sheet.

The motive for the attack is unclear, but the country’s intelligence agency SUPO said Monday that he might have been radicalised.

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