Terrorist on trial for Paris bomb attacks

AN ALGERIAN extremist accused of financing the worst bombing campaign in France since the Second World War went on trial in Paris yesterday after spending ten years in a high-security UK jail.

Rachid Ramda, 38, who was extradited from Britain in December 2005 after losing a legal battle that spanned a decade, stands accused of bankrolling the attacks in the Paris metro in 1995 that left eight dead and injured 200.

He allegedly helped fund attacks on three stations, acting for the Armed Islamic Group, the faction that said it placed the bombs.

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He is already serving a ten-year jail sentence after he was found guilty in 2006 of terrorist conspiracy connected to the 1995 attacks. He now faces life imprisonment if found guilty of being an accomplice in the attacks.

Yesterday prosecutors read out the names of the eight people killed and the 200 who were wounded and maimed by the bombs at the St Michel and Muse d'Orsay railway stations and the Maison Blanche metro station.

During the five hours it took to read out the charges, the court, which was filled with victims' families and survivors of the attacks, heard how the bombers packed nails and bolts around gas cylinders. Ramda was not asked to enter a plea.

Two men - Boualem Bensaid and Ait Ali Belkacem - are serving life terms for two of the bombings.

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