France charges two suspected extremists

PARIS (AFP) - Two Frenchmen suspected of being Islamic extremists were charged on Saturday with conspiring to commit terrorist acts after being deported from Pakistan, a judicial source said.

The two were deported earlier this week from Pakistan where they had been held for 10 months on suspicion of being Islamist extremists. A third Frenchman who was deported with them remains in police custody.

The three men - aged 30, 29 and 27 - are alleged to have entered Pakistan illegally from Iran last year, with the aim of fighting Nato troops in neighbouring Afghanistan.

They were arrested on May 28, according to investigators in Pakistan.

One of the suspected extremists was deported on Tuesday, the second on Wednesday and the third Thursday.

They were detained along with Naamen Meziche, another Frenchman of North African extraction previously known to Western security services as a presumed member of Al-Qaeda.

Investigators suspect that Meziche could have been escorting the trio to a remote jihadist stronghold on the Afghan border, home to Al-Qaeda training camps.

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