Chechen suspect arrested in France in connection with Van Gogh slaying

A Chechen citizen has been arrested in France in connection with the November slaying of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, Amsterdam prosecutors said Thursday.

The 25-year-old suspect was identified under Dutch privacy rules only as Bislan I., prosecution spokesman Rob Meulenbroek said. He was arrested in the city of Tours last week.

A 27-year-old Dutchman, Mohammed Bouyeri, is awaiting trial on a charge of murdering Van Gogh.

Meulenbroek said fingerprints of the Chechen suspect were found on a suicide note Bouyeri left for his parents. Bislan I. will be extradited to the Netherlands within weeks, Meulenbroek said.

Van Gogh was shot and stabbed on an Amsterdam street Nov. 1. Bouyeri was arrested in a shootout with police minutes later, and at pretrial hearings in his case has said he "wants to be held responsible for his actions," but stopped short of a confession.

Prosecutors have said they believe Bouyeri had logistical support in carrying out the killing, but have not charged other suspects.

Separately, 12 other men were arrested in the month following Van Gogh's death for allegedly belonging to a network of Islamic terrorists dubbed the Hofstad network by prosecutors. They face trial in Rotterdam. Lawyers for the men have said they are all innocent.

Meulenbroek said Bislan I. is believed to belong to the Hofstad network.

The Dutch secret service said that several of the 12 Rotterdam suspects received weapons and bomb-making training in Chechnya. Two were arrested at a house in The Hague on Nov. 10 after a standoff with police in which several police were injured by hand grenades and booby traps.

Van Gogh was an outspoken critic of the treatment of women in some Muslim households, and his killer left a note threatening more attacks in the name of radical Islam. The killing led to a wave of retaliatory attacks on Dutch mosques.

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