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Last Updated: Tuesday, 24 October 2006, 14:40 GMT 15:40 UK
Conductor faces cult death trial
Michel Tabachnik
Mr Tabachnik could face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty
A Franco-Swiss orchestra conductor has gone on trial in France for the second time over alleged involvement in the deaths of members of a doomsday cult.

Michel Tabachnik was cleared by a French court in 2001, but prosecutors appealed against the verdict.

The 64 year old is being charged over the deaths of 16 people who were found in a forest in the French Alps in 1995.

Prosecutors say he incited members of the Order of the Solar Temple to commit mass suicide. He denies the charge.

Some 74 members of the cult died in the 1990s. Their bodies were found in woodland clearings in Switzerland, Canada and France.

The trial, which is expected to last two weeks, is being held in the south-eastern city of Grenoble.

Mr Tabachnik faces the charge of criminal association, which carries a maximum 10-year prison term.

Mr Tabachnik studied under the French composer and conductor Pierre Boulez and held orchestral posts in Canada, Portugal and France.


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