KANDAHAR - French school shooting suspect Mohamed Merah was not jailed in Afghanistan in 2007, his lawyer and an Afghan provincial official said on Wednesday.
Earlier, Kandahar prison chief Ghulam Faruq had told Reuters that Afghan security forces detained Merah on Dec. 19, 2007, and that he was sentenced to three years in jail for planting bombs in the southern province of Kandahar, the Taliban's birthplace.
But the Kandahar governor's office said that account was "baseless", citing judicial records. "Security forces in Kandahar have never detained a French citizen named Mohamed Merah," the governor's spokesman, Ahmad Jawed Faisal, said.
Merah's lawyer in France, Christian Etelin, said his client was in prison in France from December 2007 until September 2009, serving a sentence for robbery with violence, and therefore could not have been in Afghanistan at the time.