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1963: Argoud charged over de Gaulle plot
Antoine Argoud, President De Gaulle's arch enemy and a former colonel in the French Army, has been charged with an assassination attempt on the president two years ago.

Argoud was, until now, the only active member of the Algerian Secret Army (OAS) , an organisation opposed to Algerian independence that has used violent methods to promote its cause.

He was found by police yesterday tied up and badly bruised in the back of a blue van in central Paris after a tip-off.

He claims he was kidnapped from Munich, Germany, by the French secret service, known as Les Barbouzes (the Bearded Ones).

But the man who phoned police about Argoud's whereabouts claimed to be a member of the OAS.

He told the police: "Argoud has betrayed us. He has failed in all the tasks which he should have organised - especially the attempt on the life of President de Gaulle at the Petit Clamart last August.

"You can pick him up now. He is very near you."

The blue van was found just yards from the Quai des Orfèvres, the French equivalent of Scotland Yard.

Escape

After a failed coup led by General Raoul Salan in August 1961, Argoud was captured and imprisoned in the Canary Islands.

But last March he escaped to Madrid dressed as a Spanish officer.

Two months later, he made his way to Germany where he tried to drum up support for his cause among French Army units based there.

He has since courted the more moderate version of the OAS, the illegal National Resistance Council (CNR) led by former prime minister Georges Bidault and Jacques Soustelle.

Fifteen of Argoud's associates are already on trial at a military court in Paris for their part in the de Gaulle assassination plot.

Argoud himself was sentenced to death in absentia while he was on the run.

This sentence will be set aside in preparation for a new trial.

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Van
Police found Argoud, bound and bruised in a van, after a tip-off



In Context
The OAS was founded in 1961 and led by General Raoul Salan.

It represented French settlers in Algeria and campaigned against independence in Algeria and France using terrorist means - including the attempted assassination in August 1961 of the French president General de Gaulle.

In March 1962 de Gaulle reached agreement with Algerian nationalists to give Algeria independence.

General Salan was captured and jailed in April 1962 and the organisation gradually disintegrated.

Colonel Argoud argued that his trial in December 1963 was not legal because he had been taken back to France against his will.

But the trial went ahead and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

He was released, along with other former OAS members, during a general amnesty in May 1968.

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