Paris trial begins for Islamist suspect in 1995 transit bombings Krystal MacIntyre at 12:24 PM ET
[JURIST] Algerian Islamist Rachid Ramda [Wikipedia profile] has gone on trial in France for his alleged role in several deadly bomb attacks in Paris in 1995. Ramda was arrested in Britain in 1995, but delayed his extradition [JURIST report] ten years until December 2005 with a series of appeals. He is charged with criminal association with a terrorist organization and faces a maximum sentence of ten years for the Paris public transport system bombings [Wikipedia backgrounder] that killed 8 and injured 200. Ramda allegedly financed the operation which was headed by the Algerian Armed Islamic Group (GIA) [FAS backgrounder]. He also faces a possible second trial for his role in the actual execution of the bombings and faces a life sentence if convicted.
Ramda's defense lawyers are expected to argue for dismissal of the case, claiming that the primary evidence against Ramda was obtained under duress through forced witness statements by convicted bomber Boulalem Bensaid. Ramda was an alleged accomplice of Bensaid and Smain Ait Ali, who received life sentences in 2002 for their roles in the 1995 bombing. AFP has more.
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