Czech police on Sunday confirmed the recent arrest of a Pakistani national suspected of murder and terrorism. Although few details of the case have so far emerged, the fact that it comes hard on the heels of the arrest of eight foreign nationals suspected of assisting the radical Islamic organization Shariat Jamaat of Dagestan has fueled fears that the Czech Republic may be serving as a logistics base for terrorist activities elsewhere in the world.
News of the Pakistani national’s arrest was broken by Czech public television on Sunday and confirmed both by the country’s interior minister and the head of the special anti-organized crime squad which arrested the suspect on an Interpol warrant on April 27th. The 42-year-old Pakistani national is wanted for murder, terrorism and a number of other charges. He is currently in detention and refuses to talk. According to the head of the anti-organized crime squad Robert Šlachta the suspect arrived in the Czech Republic from another site in Europe roughly a month ago, most likely with the intention of finding a safe haven somewhere in central Europe.“The man was arrested on an Interpol warrant issued by Pakistan. We have no information which would suggest that he was planning to engage in any kind of terrorist activity on Czech territory. From the way things look, he simply wanted to stay here.“
The suspect is currently in detention and expected to file for political asylum. He is refusing to cooperate with the authorities and investigators say they have no information on the specific crimes he stands accused of. The Czech Republic is now waiting for Pakistan to ask for his extradition. Interior Minister Jan Kubice says the Pakistani authorities have 40 days in which to do so.
“If they ask for the suspect’s extradition they will have to provide a file on the man documenting what he is accused of and what kind of evidence has been collected against him. After that his fate will be decided by a Czech court.”
The interior minister says that there is no connection between the arrest of the Pakistani and that of eight other people suspected of assisting a radical Islamic organization in Dagestan. However news of two such arrests in the month of April have fuelled speculation that the country’s geographic location, open door policy and liberal laws make it a suitable logistics base for terrorist operations elsewhere in the world. Police president Petr Lesy last week called for the Czech Interior Ministry to present to parliament an amendment to the law which would introduce stricter punishment for terrorist-related crimes such as document fraud and illegal trade in weapons.