Europe

Hungary terror suspects are WWII enthusiast, court rules

  • 26 November 2015
  • From the section Europe
File photo of Hungarian police Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Hungarian police have stepped up anti-terrorism efforts in the wake of the Paris attacks

A court in Hungary has ruled that four men detained as suspected terrorists were in fact World War Two enthusiasts.

The men were arrested after visiting the site of a wartime tank battle at the weekend, carrying old weapons they had found with a metal detector.

News of their arrest drew heightened attention in the wake of this month's Paris attacks in which 130 people died.

But the judge in Budapest said there was no evidence the four men had links to terrorism.

The judge denied a prosecutor's application for the main suspect, known only as Roland S, to be held in custody.

'Looking foolish'

The four men were detained after old weapons explosives were found in their car during spot-checks by Hungary's anti-terrorist police following the 13 November Paris attacks.

The co-ordinated attacks - which were claimed by Islamic State - targeted a series of sites in the French capital.

After the weekend arrests, Hungary's anti-terrorist police chief Janos Hajdu said machine guns, silencers, and even a bomb-making laboratory had been found at the home of one of the suspects

He also added that links to Islamist radicals could not be ruled out.

But the Budapest court said on Wednesday that "circumstances of the case point to the opposite".

The main suspect, it said, had no links with extremists and no criminal record.

It said the man "lives with his mother and stepfather and is a World War Two enthusiast".

The BBC's Nick Thorpe in Budapest says the anti-terror squad have been left looking rather foolish.

All four, however, remain under investigation for unlicensed possession of equipment capable of making explosives.

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