After Germany trial, 10 will face trial in French court for Strasbourg plot

Monday, July 5th 2004, 10:02 am
By: News On 6

PARIS (AP) _ Ten suspected terrorists, including a man believed to be a top Osama bin Laden lieutenant in Europe, will stand trial for the millennium plot to attack the Christmas market in the eastern French city of Strasbourg, judicial officials said Monday.

A German court last year convicted four Algerians for plotting to bomb the market near the Strasbourg Cathedral, but French investigators believe that others in France _ all Algerians or French-Algerians _ had a hand in the plan.

The 10 who have been under investigation in France include Mohamed Bensakria, an Algerian extradited from Spain in 2001 and the alleged bin Laden associate.

One of the 10 is at large and the object of an international arrest warrant, officials said.

All are suspected of involvement, to varying degrees, in a plan to attack the market on New Year's Eve 2000. The well-known market is set up around the city cathedral during the Christmas period and becomes a major gathering place.

The 10 are charged with criminal association with a terrorist enterprise, a charge that can bring a 10-year prison term. France opened an investigation after four suspected Islamic radicals were arrested in Frankfurt in possession of a map of Strasbourg and a video cassette showing the market.

The four convicted in March 2003 in Frankfurt, Germany, received prison terms ranging from 10 to 12 years.