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Police in Portugal Question Russian in Missing Girl Case

Police have questioned a Russian man in connection with the disappearance of a four-year-old British girl from a tourist resort in southern Portugal.

Chief inspector Olegario Sousa told reporters Thursday that investigators questioned 22-year-old computer specialist Sergei Malinka who helped design a Web site for the prime suspect in the case.

Police searched Malinka's apartment in the village of Praia da Luz (Algarve region) on Wednesday and seized computer equipment from his apartment. Sousa said the Russian is a witness, not a suspect.

Madeleine McCann disappeared 14 days ago from her hotel room in Praia da Luz while her parents were dining out.

Police said on Tuesday that they had identified the main suspect in the case, but did not have enough evidence to arrest him. News media identified the man as British-born Robert Murat, who lives close to the McCanns' hotel.

Murat says he is completely innocent and that police are making him a scapegoat.

Madeleine's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, have remained in Portugal with their other two children. They have made repeated appeals for the girl's return and are setting up a Web site,, to help in the search.

Madeleine's disappearance has caused a public outcry in Britain and Portugal, with politicians and celebrities offering support.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.