French trial opens into suspected recruiting ring for Iraq insurgency

Seven men went on trial Wednesday in Paris for suspected involvement in an al-Qaida-linked network that recruited young French men on the streets of Paris and sent them to fight in Iraq's insurgency. The men have been accused of "criminal conspiracy with a terrorist organization," a broad charge often used in terror-related cases in France, and they face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty. Three are still in custody; the other four were offered freedom while the probe continued. The trial dealt with mostly procedural issues as it opened. It is scheduled to end March 28. The network, one of several that recruited in France by targeting Muslim youths, was dismantled in 2005. Judicial officials believe this particular network sent about 10 people to Iraq, at least three of whom died there.