Trial of suspected terrorists opens in Paris

21st March 2006, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, March 20, 2006 (AFP) - The trial of 27 people suspected of planning terrorist attacks in France opened Monday in a Paris court, following one of the country's biggest anti-terrorism investigations in recent years.

PARIS, March 20, 2006 (AFP) - The trial of 27 people suspected of planning terrorist attacks in France opened Monday in a Paris court, following one of the country's biggest anti-terrorism investigations in recent years.

They are charged with associating with criminals connected to a terrorist organisation.

Some of the suspects have given statements claiming that attacks were planned against French targets including the Eiffel Tower, police stations and a central Paris shopping centre.

Others have said the group planned attacks on Russian targets in France to revenge the attack on a Chechen rebel unit in Moscow in October 2002.

Among those on trial are suspects charged with links to al-Qaeda or Chechen rebels, or suspected former members of the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and minor operatives recruited in the Paris suburbs.

Some of them also face charges of making and carrying false documents and being in the country illegally.

The lawyer of one of the suspects questioned the competence of the French court to try his client for acts he says were committed outside France before his client was extradited there from Syria in September 2004.

Sébastien Bono, representing 41-year-old Algerian former army officer and chemicals expert Said Arif, called for the court to reject evidence which he says was obtained from his client under torture in Damascus.

He also criticised French authorities for letting Russian agents question Arif in January, after he was referred to the court.

The trial is expected to last until May 12.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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