Long-sought al-Qaida figure extradited to France

Oct. 12, 2013 at 10:27 AM

PARIS, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- French authorities have formally filed terrorism charges against a reputed al-Qaida operative extradited from Pakistan this week.

Naamen Meziche, 33, who had been in Pakistani custody for more than a year, was charged after arriving in France with participation in a conspiracy to commit terrorism.

Radio France Internationale said Saturday French intelligence officials had Meziche on their radar for 10 years. He was suspected of being a member of al-Qaida's so-called Hamburg cell, which included a number of Sept. 11, 2001 terrorists in its ranks.

Meziche, a French citizen of Algerian descent, was picked up in rural Pakistan last year along with three other French citizens. French intelligence agents planned to interrogate him in connection with a case opened in March, RFI said.

A source told the BBC the new case was based on information from German authorities dating back to 1990.

Meziche lived in Germany for several years and allegedly recruited jihadists at a Hamburg mosque that was shut down in 2010.

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