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France charges Pakistan deportees with terror conspiracy

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Two French citizens who were deported from Pakistan to France this week have been charged with conspiring to commit terrorist acts, judicial sources told news agencies. A third Frenchman remains in police custody but has not yet been charged.


The three men, aged 30, 29 and 27, were picked up while travelling on a coach in the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, apparently after having entered the country illegally from Iran.

Dossier: AfPak news and analysis

They were in the company of another French national, Naamen Meziche, who security services say is a longstanding member of Al-Qaeda.

Investigators believe they were heading for the semi-autonomous tribal areas on the border with Afghanistan to be trained in jihadi combat, as Toulouse killer Mohammed Merah did.

Meziche is still being held in Pakistan but is expected to be deported to France, which opened a judicial inquiry into his activities on 15 March.

Pakistani and French police announced his arrest at the time but did not mention his three companions.

A judicial source played down the links between the three men and Meziche to the AFP news agency.

Al-Qaeda threatened attacks on France when it launched its offensive in Mali ealier this year.