Belgium releases sole suspect charged over Brussels attacks

Faycal Cheffou, one of the main suspects of the Brussels attacks, speaking in a video posted on YouTube in 2014.
Faycal Cheffou, one of the main suspects of the Brussels attacks, speaking in a video posted on YouTube in 2014. PHOTO: AFP

BRUSSELS (AFP) - The sole suspect charged over last week's Brussels attacks was released Monday (March 28) following a lack of evidence linking him to the carnage, Belgian prosecutors said.

"The indications that led to the arrest of Faycal C. were not substantiated by the ongoing inquiry. As a result, the subject has been released by the examining magistrate," the federal prosecutor's office said in a statement, without giving further details.

Belgian media had identified the man as Faycal Cheffou who claimed to be a freelance journalist.

Cheffou was reportedly identified by a taxi driver who drove the attackers to the airport on March 22, Le Soir newspaper said. Earlier, police and government sources said it was highly likely he was the third man seen at the airport.

Brussels mayor Yvan Mayeur told Le Soir that Cheffou had been detained a number of times at a park where he sought to encourage asylum seekers camped there to turn to radical extremism.

The self-styled freelance journalist was "dangerous", the mayor said, and he had been banned from visiting the park.