French court remands seven in custody in terror probe

PARIS: Seven people arrested in a French-Swiss probe have been remanded in custody in France over a plot to stage a terror attack, with one more suspect placed under further investigation, a judicial source said on Saturday.

The suspects were brought before an anti-terror judge on Friday and charged with « participation in a criminal terrorist conspiracy », the source said.

They were among 10 people detained on Tuesday in France and Switzerland after exchanging « extremely violent remarks » on the encrypted messaging app Telegram, French prosecutor Francois Molins said.

Nine of the suspects were detained in France, while the tenth, a 23-year-old Colombian woman, was held in Switzerland.

Those held in France included a 27-year-old Swiss man described as a self-styled imam tasked with indoctrination, as well as a 65-year-old army veteran and convert to Islam, and two brothers already on an extremist watchlist.

The so-called imam was in touch with a 13-year-old French teenager accused of planning a Jihadist knife attack.

The minor, who was arrested in June, was the youngest person to face prosecution in France for planning a terror attack.

Molins on Friday told France Info radio the group had « corresponded on encrypted networks ».

He said they had been planning « to go into action within the coming months in France… »

Some of the suspects had described themselves as supporters of the Islamic State Jihadist group, a judicial source said.

The French-Swiss operation came less than a week after President Emmanuel Macron signed an anti-terror law giving authorities permanent powers to search homes, shut down places of worship and restrict the movements of suspected extremists.

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