French police release former cop in Alps murder probe

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A French ex-policeman arrested in connection with the 2012 killing of a British-Iraqi family in the French Alps has been released without charges, prosecutors said Friday, adding however that the man would be re-arrested on suspicion of arms dealing.


The 48 year-old was detained on Tuesday as part of the probe into the killings of three members of the al-Hilli family and a French cyclist near the village of Chevaline in September 2012.

Police said the next day he appeared to have no link to the case but that a large cache of World War II-era weapons had been found in his home.

The Annecy prosecutor's office said in a statement Friday that the man's formal custody over the 2012 murders had ended but that "custody will however resume" in the arms trafficking case.

Through his lawyer, the man has denied any involvement in the killings but did not contest the arms trafficking.

Saad al-Hilli, a 50-year-old Iraqi-born British tourist, was gunned down along with his wife Iqbal, 47, and her mother,74, in a woodland car park in the hills above Lake Annecy. Each was shot multiple times in their British-registered BMW estate car and more than two dozen spent bullet casings were found near the vehicle.

The couple's two daughters, aged seven and four at the time, survived the attack, but a 45-year-old French cyclist, Sylvain Mollier, was killed after apparently stumbling upon the scene.

French and British police have so far failed to make any tangible progress in the case despite a massive effort involving officers on both sides of the English Channel.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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