News agencies – April 3, 2012
Preliminary charges are being filed against 13 Islamist radicals in France, a prosecutor announced, saying some had been calling for Muslim Shariah law in the country, doing weapons training and even planning to kidnap a judge. Prosecutor Francois Molins told a news conference the Forsane Alizza group, or Knights of Pride, did physical training in parks and forests, collected weapons and preached hate and violence on their Internet site, showing clips of late al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
The 13 — among 17 suspects detained in police raids last week — faced preliminary charges of criminal association linked to a terrorist network, a sweeping charge with a maximum 10-year prison term that is used in France to ensure a full investigation of terror suspects. Nine of the 13 are being jailed, Mr. Molins said. Charges of acquiring, transporting and detention of arms also were issued. The remaining four who had been detained were being released.
The prosecutor said several terror plans appeared to be in the works, including the kidnapping of a judge in Lyon, in southeast France. An official close to the investigation said the targeted judge is Jewish.