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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 October 2007, 18:33 GMT 19:33 UK
Paris bomb trial upsets families
Court sketch showing Rachid Ramda (1 October 2007)
Ramda has already been convicted on a lesser charge
An Algerian man facing charges over the 1995 Paris Metro bombings has upset victims' families by declaring his sympathy for them in court.

Rachid Ramda was jailed last year for associating with terrorists in connection with the attacks but is now back on trial for conspiracy to murder.

Ramda, who says he is innocent, voiced "spiritual" support for the families of the eight dead and 87 injured.

His remark caused a sensation with one woman running out of the court.

Ramda, who is currently serving 10 years, faces life in jail if convicted.

Two other men, said to be the mastermind and the bomb expert of the attacks, are serving life sentences handed down by a French court in 2002 for their role in the bombings.

Prosecutors say Ramda was the financier of several of the attacks.

'If it had been my father...'

Ramda made the comment on the second day of his trial at Paris Assizes Court on charges of complicity to murder, and attempted murder, over the blasts at the St Michel and Musee d'Orsay railway stations, and the Maison Blanche metro station.

We don't need your support
unidentified person in court

Referring to a victim of the St Michel attack, he said:

"If it had been my father, I think my reaction would have been a little extreme, I would have demanded the death penalty for the people who did that."

France abolished the death penalty in 1981.

One woman ran from the court in tears as he spoke, while another person shouted: "We don't need your support".

Ramda was extradited from the UK in December after a 10-year legal battle - he was the UK's longest-serving extradition prisoner.

The bombings were blamed on militants from Algeria's Armed Islamic Group (GIA), who accused France of supporting the Algerian government, which they were fighting at the time.

A verdict is expected around 30 October.

SEE ALSO
Algeria's 'export of terror'
26 Feb 03 |  Africa
Timeline: Algeria
02 Feb 06 |  Country profiles

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