Published November 17, 2014
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Danish police on Wednesday identified the man suspected of setting off a small explosion in a Copenhagen hotel as a one-legged Chechen-born boxer living in Belgium.
The suspect, who was arrested Friday following a small explosion in a bathroom at a Copenhagen hotel, has declined to reveal his name to investigators. No one was injured in the blast except the suspect, who received cuts to his face.
Investigators won't say whether the explosion was related to terrorism and have refused to comment on speculation in Danish media that the man was trying to assemble a letter bomb when it blew up in his face.
Police spokesman Svend Foldager said Wednesday that police were "almost certain" they had identified the man after releasing close-up photographs to the media, showing his face covered with cuts and scratches. He also appeared to have a broken nose., common among boxers.
The Danish newspaper B.T. took the photos to boxing clubs in Belgium and found a coach who recognized him.
Foldager said the newspaper report helped investigators identify the man as a Belgium-based amateur boxer born in Chechnya in 1986. They were working with Belgian authorities to confirm the man's identity, he said.
"He has not denied that the identity we have here could be his. In other words, he has not said it was his name. But we believe it is," Foldager said.
The suspect's lawyer did not return calls seeking comment.
The man had a forged Belgian identity card and used two other false identities in Denmark. He gave no clues about his identity and had scratched the serial number off his prosthetic right leg, police said.
The suspect asked for Christian, Muslim and Jewish scriptures to read while in custody, a request police believe was meant to confuse them.
Margaux Donckier, a spokeswoman for the Belgian Interior Ministry, said she could not comment because the investigation was still being conducted.
Associated Press Writer Anne Christnovich contributed to this report from Brussels.