Extradited from UK, suspect stands trial in France
A suspected Islamic radical from Algeria is to go on trial in Paris Monday in connection with a wave of bombings in Paris in 1995.Updated: Feb 27, 2006 20:06 IST
A suspected Islamic radical from Algeria who was extradited from Britain in December is to go on trial in Paris Monday in connection with a wave of deadly bombings in the French capital in 1995.
Rachid Ramda, 35, is charged with criminal association with a terrorist organisation and faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in jail -- almost the same length of time he spent in detention in Britain awaiting extradition.
The charges relate only to the preparation of the 1995 metro attacks, which were blamed on the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) and left eight dead and 200 injured.
Ramda, who is alleged to have financed the operation, faces a possible second trial for his role in the actual bombings, in which he risks a life sentence.
The defence was expected to argue for the case to be dropped on the grounds that the main evidence against Ramda -- witness statements from convicted bomber Boualem Bensaid -- were extracted under duress.
France's National Police Inspectorate (IGPN) is currently investigating allegations made in a recent book that police tortured suspects in the 1995 bombings using electronic prods and beatings.
Ramda was arrested in Britain in November 1995 and evaded extradition for many years by a series of appeals.
First Published: Feb 27, 2006 20:06 IST